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13 August 2010, 16:26

GNOME Foundation sets out new rules for copyright assignment

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The GNOME Foundation has set out new rules for the handling of modules contributed to GNOME which require copyright assignment. Vincent Untz announced the new policy, which was developed in response to a request from the GNOME Release Team asking what to do about proposed modules which asked future contributors to assign their copyright to an organisation.

The Foundation, with assistance from its Advisory Board, Bradley Kuhn and Michael Meeks, has now published the new policy. Although future decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, by both the Release Team and the Foundation's board, the requirements of the new policy and the Foundation's guidelines, aim to ensure that only sufficiently free code is included in GNOME.

The Foundation would require contributions with copyright assignment to make it clear that if any patent licences are obtained, then these licenses are required to cover free software users too, a full publication of any proprietary licenses related to the module, a preference for LGPL or weaker licensing and the ability to fork a module into a GNOME version which would act as a repository for changes from other contributors who do not want to assign their copyright. "Our intention is not to prevent copyright assignments, but to make sure that GNOME projects continue to further the GNOME mission for all GNOME users" reads one part of the policy.

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