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Old 06-15-2013, 06:48 AM   #31
Gedagtes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k3lt01 View Post
...

Have fun reading it, I stopped when it basically said any work I do that I agree to let Canonical use becomes theirs.
...
The contributorīs agreement does seem to say that. I have not checked all the variations (yet).


http://www.canonical.com/contributors/faq

Quote:
Who owns the copyright?

The existing contribution owner continues to own their copyright. This is usually yourself, or your employer. Section 2.1(a) states the following:

“You retain ownership of the Copyright in Your Contribution and have the same rights to use or license the Contribution which You would have had without entering into the Agreement.”

Can I contribute the same code to other projects as well?

Yes. You retain the full rights to redistribute your own code as you wish. The agreement is not exclusive and you may contribute what you write to as many other projects or organisations as you wish to share it with.
 
Old 06-15-2013, 09:17 AM   #32
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gedagtes View Post
The contributorīs agreement does seem to say that. I have not checked all the variations (yet).
Read the actual agreement, not the FAQ.

2 current versions, both have the relevant sections.

http://www.canonical.com/sites/defau...-CLA-ANY-I.pdf
http://www.canonical.com/sites/defau...-CLA-ANY-E.pdf

Section 2.1(b)-

Quote:
(b) To the maximum extent permitted by the relevant law,
You grant to Us a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive,
transferable, royalty-free, irrevocable license under the
Copyright covering the Contribution, with the right to
sublicense such rights through multiple tiers of
sublicensees, to reproduce, modify, display, perform and
distribute the Contribution as part of the Material; provided
that this license is conditioned upon compliance with
Section 2.3
Translation- Canoncial (non-exclusively) 'owns' your cotruibutions and do with them as they wish. If that wasnt clear enough-

Quote:
2.2 Patent License

For patent claims including, without limitation, method,
process, and apparatus claims which You or Your Affiliates
own, control or have the right to grant, now or in the future,
You grant to Us a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive,
transferable, royalty-free, irrevocable patent license, with
the right to sublicense these rights to multiple tiers of
sublicensees, to make, have made, use, sell, offer for sale,
import and otherwise transfer the Contribution and the
Contribution in combination with the Material (and portions
of such combination). This license is granted only to the
extent that the exercise of the licensed rights infringes such
patent claims; and provided that this license is conditioned
upon compliance with Section 2.3.

2.3 Outbound License

Based on the grant of rights in Sections 2.1 and 2.2, if We
include Your Contribution in a Material, We may license the
Contribution under any license, including copyleft,
permissive, commercial, or proprietary licenses. As a
condition on the exercise of this right, We agree to also
license the Contribution under the terms of the license or
licenses which We are using for the Material on the
Submission Date.
Canonical can even take your contributed code, close it up and sell it to anyone they want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gedagtes View Post
Canonical is not doing well financially the last time I looked. In fact I very much doubt whether the open source philosophy can be turned into a financial success. So, to a large extent he is doing welfare work in the software/internet world.
Have you actually seen canoncials financial figures, or is this just based on media reports/rumours?

In 2009 Shuttleworth said that canoncial was 'creeping toward $30 million' and '$30 million a year is self-sustaining revenue'

Quote:
Canonical also receives revenue from companies like Dell that ship computers with Ubuntu and work with it on software engineering projects like adding Linux-based features to laptops. All told, Canonical’s annual revenue is creeping toward $30 million, Mr. Shuttleworth said.

That figure won’t worry Microsoft.

But Mr. Shuttleworth contends that $30 million a year is self-sustaining revenue, just what he needs to finance regular Ubuntu updates.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/bu...caDZpkRHVoybBA

I havent seen Shuttleworth or anyone else from canonical for that matter say anything about canonicals financial status since then. With the banshee furor, the 'donation page' and the deals with amazon, I would guess that canonical is well into the black now.

If Shuttleworth wants to make a for profit and its not making a profit, that is his problem.....and its not 'welfare' at all.

But it really doesnt matter on this subject. But I'm out of time to post any more, I'll try to get that done later.

Last edited by cascade9; 06-15-2013 at 09:19 AM.
 
Old 06-15-2013, 05:49 PM   #33
k3lt01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gedagtes View Post
The contributorīs agreement does seem to say that. I have not checked all the variations (yet).


http://www.canonical.com/contributors/faq
For someone who appears to be extremely interested in legal issues I have to wonder why you only looked at the FAQ. You can't seriously think for a moment that a FAQ is a legally binding document. Read Cascades post below your last one to see what the legal documents say.

While you are at it go and take a look at Ubuntu Forums and see if you can find any threads on their license agreement where people, like myself, argued against it. You probably wont now considering a couple of years ago, just as I stopped posting partially because of this exact issue, they decided to "archive" (read clean up and hide from general view) alot of the forums that the "authorities of UF" felt were of no use to the general Ubuntu using public.

Last edited by k3lt01; 06-15-2013 at 05:52 PM.
 
Old 06-16-2013, 10:27 AM   #34
Gedagtes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k3lt01 View Post
For someone who appears to be extremely interested in legal issues I have to wonder why you only looked at the FAQ. You can't seriously think for a moment that a FAQ is a legally binding document. Read Cascades post below your last one to see what the legal documents say.

...
There are links from the FAQ to the contract. I did glance at those and I still think that their contracts do not really go beyond the GNU GPL. The problem seems to be that contributors get upset if someone else makes money out of their work - which they otherwise are prepared to let go off for free.

The philosophy of the initial open source drive (as manifested by the GNU documentation) does not appear to frown on charging for distributing work. So, again, contributors go into this with open eyes.

I can appreciate the anger and the solution would appear to lie in channeling back to the contributor a % of the income (if generated). It seems that a practical way of doing this would be the major problem.

What I also suspect is that this problem probably affects a very small percentage of people using for example Ubuntu. How many Ubuntu contributors would there be (as opposed to users)? My suspicion is that a very large percentage of those using open source stuff is unable to change the programs (meaningfully) or to contribute software on the required level. In other words, it should be possible to solve this problem on a developer level by negotiations with the individuals concerned. Perhaps an open source trade union is called for developers/code crunchers.
 
Old 06-16-2013, 11:20 AM   #35
Gedagtes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
Read the actual agreement, not the FAQ.

...

Canonical can even take your contributed code, close it up and sell it to anyone they want.



Have you actually seen canoncials financial figures, or is this just based on media reports/rumours?
The agreements themselves confirm that the copyright is retained by the creator and that Canonical is mainly licensed to distribute the contribution.

The creator is free to exploit his contribution as he seems fit regardless of what Canonical does (my interpretation).


Quote:
2.1 Copyright License

(a) You retain ownership of the Copyright in Your Contribution and have the same rights to use or license the Contribution which You would have had without entering into the Agreement.
When patent rights are also involved

Quote:
This license is granted only to the extent that the exercise of the licensed rights infringes such patent claims;
In other words this is merely to ensure than when Canonical distributes the contribution, such distribution is not endangered by patent rights remaining in the creator.

What is a bit fuzzy (for me) is the following in the Outbound license terms:

Quote:
As a condition on the exercise of this right, We agree to also license the Contribution under the terms of the license or licenses which We are using for the Material on the Submission Date.
What this seems to do is to ensure that when the contribution is incorporated into a project, the contribution is licensed under the license terms prevailing at the time when the contribution is submitted - but donīt quote me. In other words, if the overall project is licensed under open source conditions, the contribution will also be licensed under those conditions.

Copyright (and patent) law is a pretty esoteric legal area. What complicate matters further here is the fact that the contract provides it is to be interpreted by English Law. Only an English legal practitioner will be able to say with a measure of confidence what the position is at the tight spots.

As regards Canonicalīs financial position, I only know that some years ago it was said that they are running at a loss. I suspect that one must assume that since about 2004 Shuttleworth has been pouring money into a loss making entity (almost 10 years now). So, if he is turning a profit, good for him. I cannot see how anyone can begrudge him that. Despite assurances that Red Hat shows that Open source can be run profitably, it seems to me a rather precarious venture where the core of your efforts has to be financed by sidelines. Not that distribution for profit is not allowed by the general philosophy:

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html#header

Quote:
When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for them if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs, and that you know you can do these things.
Profit is also a problem here. Surely those involved (including Shuttleworth) are entitled to reasonable salaries and returns on their investments? Then you have expansion which must be financed. What is an indecent profit in this case? 5 cents above breaking even?

I also wonder if he (Shuttleworth) happens to be the only shareholder. Neither here not there. Does anyone know?

Last edited by Gedagtes; 06-16-2013 at 11:33 AM.
 
Old 06-16-2013, 01:09 PM   #36
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gedagtes View Post
There are links from the FAQ to the contract. I did glance at those and I still think that their contracts do not really go beyond the GNU GPL.
Have you missed the part cascade9 posted already in #32?
Quote:
We may license the
Contribution under any license, including copyleft,
permissive, commercial, or proprietary licenses.
In other words "we can take your code at any time into one of our new projects and close it down. Or we just relicense an existing project to a closed license."
That is in direct opposition to the GPL. You may keep the copyright to your code, but you totally loose control about its license in Canonical's projects.

Last edited by TobiSGD; 06-16-2013 at 01:11 PM.
 
Old 06-16-2013, 01:19 PM   #37
Gedagtes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
Have you missed the part cascade9 posted already in #32?In other words "we can take your code at any time into one of our new projects and close it down. Or we just relicense an existing project to a closed license."
That is in direct opposition to the GPL. You may keep the copyright to your code, but you totally loose control about its license in Canonical's projects.
It seems to me that in open source distributions you lose control anyway. Your work can be copied, amended, changed, charged for etc. In fact, it is of the essence of the philosophy that you cannot prevent that. Or am I missing something?

What I do think is objectionable is that they take away your moral rights (which includes your right to have your name associated with the software -assuming that the term embraces what SA law does).
 
Old 06-16-2013, 02:14 PM   #38
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gedagtes View Post
It seems to me that in open source distributions you lose control anyway. Your work can be copied, amended, changed, charged for etc. In fact, it is of the essence of the philosophy that you cannot prevent that. Or am I missing something?
Yes, you are missing something. If code is contributed under the GPL license to a project without a Canonical style CLA the code has to be GPL licensed forever. Only the copyright holder can change the license, the project you contributed to can't. In their own projects Canonical can change the license at any time, regardless what you as the copyright holder of the code think of it. They actually can say: "Hey, your code is good, but you know what? We will use it in three of our other projects, but we don't care about you licensing it under GPL, those projects will be closed source and there is nothing you can do about it!"
That is exactly the scenario the GPL tries to prevent.
GPL with Canonical's CLA is nothing but a BSD license in disguise, but a BSD license that only is valid for Canonical. A nice thing for them, but without any ethics. At least they would have been honest if they would have used a BSD or MIT style license from the beginning, but honesty is something I would not expect from Canonical or Shuttleworth (oh, and not having the GPL lable on their projects would have pushed away many of their contributors). For me and many others Shuttleworth and Canonical have lost any credibility.

Last edited by TobiSGD; 06-16-2013 at 02:17 PM.
 
Old 06-16-2013, 02:50 PM   #39
Gedagtes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
Yes, you are missing something. If code is contributed under the GPL license to a project without a Canonical style CLA the code has to be GPL licensed forever. Only the copyright holder can change the license, the project you contributed to can't. In their own projects Canonical can change the license at any time, regardless what you as the copyright holder of the code think of it. They actually can say: "Hey, your code is good, but you know what? We will use it in three of our other projects, but we don't care about you licensing it under GPL, those projects will be closed source and there is nothing you can do about it!"
That is exactly the scenario the GPL tries to prevent.
GPL with Canonical's CLA is nothing but a BSD license in disguise, but a BSD license that only is valid for Canonical. A nice thing for them, but without any ethics. At least they would have been honest if they would have used a BSD or MIT style license from the beginning, but honesty is something I would not expect from Canonical or Shuttleworth (oh, and not having the GPL lable on their projects would have pushed away many of their contributors). For me and many others Shuttleworth and Canonical have lost any credibility.
For Canonical to use those contributions in a GPL license, they need those consents...and once they have used them in a GPL license, the cat is out of the bag.

It seems to me that is why this clause which I quoted before, is important, as it ties them to the license at the stage the contribution is submitted:


Quote:
As a condition on the exercise of this right, We agree to also license the Contribution under the terms of the license or licenses which We are using for the Material on the Submission Date.
Iīll admit that there are loopholes here for it may well be that at the stage of the contribution the license has not been determined yet.
 
Old 06-16-2013, 02:59 PM   #40
TobiSGD
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The CLA explicitly permits Canonical to relicense the code, so there is no cat in the bag from the beginning. It doesn't matter which license the code had initially when they can just relicense it. They can do it, because the contributor, the copyright holder, has explicitly given Canonical the license to do it, otherwise he is not allowed to contribute to their projects.
 
Old 06-17-2013, 03:07 AM   #41
Gedagtes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
The CLA explicitly permits Canonical to relicense the code, so there is no cat in the bag from the beginning. It doesn't matter which license the code had initially when they can just relicense it. They can do it, because the contributor, the copyright holder, has explicitly given Canonical the license to do it, otherwise he is not allowed to contribute to their projects.
Their right to relicense is conditional upon the project having been issued under the initial license first.


Quote:
2.3 Outbound License

Based on the grant of rights in Sections 2.1 and 2.2, if We include Your Contribution in a Material, We may license the Contribution under any license, including copyleft, permissive, commercial, or proprietary licenses. As a condition on the exercise of this right, We agree to also license the Contribution under the terms of the license or licenses which We are using for the Material on the Submission Date
The question of course is what the initial license is and to what extent they can deviate from a proposed license in respect of a new start-up. Opting for a different license after having indicated that it would be a GPL might afford relief under the rules governing misrepresentation.

Regardless of what they do, the contributor would retain his rights to market the software himself in whatever form. Is this not an important consideration? I suspect that their thinking is that value is added to the overall product as a result of the Canonical input (and the mix of various contributions). Consequently (I suspect) the argument is that if there is money to be made, they are entitled to it.

The following comments are made as a matter of interest (well, new and interesting to me - a newbie).

Although the GNU GPL model allows money to me made from distribution there is this prohibition:


Quote:
10. Automatic Licensing of Downstream Recipients.

Each time you convey a covered work, the recipient automatically receives a license from the original licensors, to run, modify and propagate that work, subject to this License. You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties with this License.

...

You may not impose any further restrictions on the exercise of the rights granted or affirmed under this License. For example, you may not impose a license fee, royalty, or other charge for exercise of rights granted under this License, and you may not initiate litigation (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that any patent claim is infringed by making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the Program or any portion of it.
So, my suggestion previously that one could perhaps negotiate for a portion of income (if realised) would run counter to this as long as we are talking open source.

On similar lines in the same model agreement

Quote:
12. No Surrender of Others' Freedom.

If conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot convey a covered work so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not convey it at all. For example, if you agree to terms that obligate you to collect a royalty for further conveying from those to whom you convey the Program, the only way you could satisfy both those terms and this License would be to refrain entirely from conveying the Program.

Last edited by Gedagtes; 06-17-2013 at 03:11 AM.
 
Old 06-17-2013, 06:13 AM   #42
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gedagtes View Post
Their right to relicense is conditional upon the project having been issued under the initial license first.

The question of course is what the initial license is and to what extent they can deviate from a proposed license in respect of a new start-up. Opting for a different license after having indicated that it would be a GPL might afford relief under the rules governing misrepresentation.
That simply means 'canonical will release the software/code under whatever licence is being used at that time for that type of submission'.

It never states that the licence will be GPL, or any other open source licence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gedagtes View Post
Regardless of what they do, the contributor would retain his rights to market the software himself in whatever form. Is this not an important consideration?
The writer of any subbmitted code remains legally owned by them. Some or all of that code can be used on different projects. Because of the way that the GPL is worded, they can not take the project as a whole and 'market' that. It remains GPLed or under canonical control to do with as they wish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gedagtes View Post
I suspect that their thinking is that value is added to the overall product as a result of the Canonical input (and the mix of various contributions). Consequently (I suspect) the argument is that if there is money to be made, they are entitled to it.
Canonical only needs/wants the contributors agreement signed for Canonical in-house projects which they then have 100% control over. If they were just interested in being able to sell a closed version, they could have used a BSD style licence or dual BSD/GPL. If they had of taken a BSD licence, they would haev to put up the copyright notice, which sort of gives away that the software or some code is originally from an open source project.

It would be 'neater', 'cleaner' and more attractive to closed source software supliers (or hardware suppliers who want software to go with the hardware) to avoid having to post up a BSD style copyright notice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gedagtes View Post
The following comments are made as a matter of interest (well, new and interesting to me - a newbie).

Although the GNU GPL model allows money to me made from distribution there is this prohibition:
That is why Red Hat does not charge for downloading or trying Red Hat OSes. There is a charge for 'support', which is one way Red Hat makes its money (other ways include training, and integration services).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gedagtes View Post
Despite assurances that Red Hat shows that Open source can be run profitably, it seems to me a rather precarious venture where the core of your efforts has to be financed by sidelines.
Hardly. Red Hat is a giant in the open source linux world. If Canonical died tomorrow, there would be little or zero impact to linux as a whole. If Red Hat died tomorrow, the linux kernel and connected projects would at the very least slow right down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gedagtes View Post
Profit is also a problem here. Surely those involved (including Shuttleworth) are entitled to reasonable salaries and returns on their investments?
If that was the case legally, Red Hat is entitled to a huge amount of any possible cacnonical revenue.

Most linux kernel development is done by Red Hat, and they are a major player in a huge number of other projects.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gedagtes View Post
So, my suggestion previously that one could perhaps negotiate for a portion of income (if realised) would run counter to this as long as we are talking open source.
There is IMO (I am not a lawyer) no way you could negotiate for a portion of income. See section 2.1(b).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gedagtes View Post
I also wonder if he (Shuttleworth) happens to be the only shareholder. Neither here not there. Does anyone know?
Because its a private company we have no idea who owns how much of canonical. For all we know, GW Bush is now a 45% owner of canonical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gedagtes View Post
As regards Canonicalīs financial position, I only know that some years ago it was said that they are running at a loss. I suspect that one must assume that since about 2004 Shuttleworth has been pouring money into a loss making entity (almost 10 years now).
Well, Shuttleworth said thye were running at a loss. I believe that they were for a while......but who knows? We cant check, the isle of man is a 'tax haven' for more reasons than just the taxation rate.

This has very little to do with the court case that this thread was originally about. I dont see any legal reason why the existance or profitablility of canonical should have any impact on the court case.

Last edited by cascade9; 06-17-2013 at 06:20 AM.
 
Old 06-17-2013, 07:37 AM   #43
Gedagtes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
...
This has very little to do with the court case that this thread was originally about. I dont see any legal reason why the existance or profitablility of canonical should have any impact on the court case.
True. I switched off my own 'agenda' and went with the flow of comments. Very little of the thread deals with the main issue.
 
Old 06-17-2013, 10:55 AM   #44
cynwulf
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A question for the more legal minded: In theory could canonical sue you for patent infringement if you later attempted to redistribute your own code under a copyleft licence - after they had released it under a proprietary one and acquired a suitable patent???
Quote:
2.2 Patent License

For patent claims including, without limitation, method,
process, and apparatus claims which You or Your Affiliates
own, control or have the right to grant, now or in the future,
You grant to Us a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive,
transferable, royalty-free, irrevocable patent license, with
the right to sublicense these rights to multiple tiers of
sublicensees, to make, have made, use, sell, offer for sale,
import and otherwise transfer the Contribution and the
Contribution in combination with the Material (and portions
of such combination). This license is granted only to the
extent that the exercise of the licensed rights infringes such
patent claims; and provided that this license is conditioned
upon compliance with Section 2.3.

Last edited by cynwulf; 06-17-2013 at 10:56 AM.
 
Old 06-17-2013, 12:35 PM   #45
Gedagtes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynwulf View Post
A question for the more legal minded: In theory could canonical sue you for patent infringement if you later attempted to redistribute your own code under a copyleft licence - after they had released it under a proprietary one and acquired a suitable patent???
I would guess that the clue to the answer lies in 'non-exclusive...patent license' In other words, you would retain the patent rights (as with copyright) and your rights would at least be co-extensive with theirs.
 
  


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