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07 April 2011, 16:36

Project Harmony opens website

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Harmony logo Project Harmony, a group focussed on creating contributor agreements for free and open source software (FOSS), has now launched its website at Contribution agreements exist for many free and open source projects and often involve a developer who is making changes or adding features assigning the copyright of the code they have created to an entity such as the owner of the project being modified, or giving that entity a licence to use that code.

Project Harmony was launched in May 2010 by Canonical's General Counsel, Amanda Brock, to create a consensus around contribution agreements, which have historically tended to vary between companies and organisations. Some projects have no contribution agreements whatsoever; for example, Linux does not have a contributor agreement of any kind. Project Harmony says that it believes contribution agreements are "one available tool out of many in an overall legal strategy for FOSS developers" but notes that although they are seeking to improve how they work it "doesn't imply that we think they are a necessary part of all FOSS legal strategies".

Project Harmony positions itself as an organisation that will create a standard suite of language for contribution agreements both between individuals and between companies. A number of "alpha" level agreements are already available to review and the project is inviting feedback. The current phase of the review process runs until 6 May. To assist reviewers, there is also a guide to the agreements and FAQ pages on Harmony and the agreements themselves.


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