[FoRK] Drafting employment contracts for free-software authors

Luis Villa luis.villa at gmail.com
Wed Feb 23 08:50:13 PST 2005

More later, but for now:

(1) Justin's response aligns fairly well with the direction Novell is
going to go in, and I found it pretty reasonable.
(2) below.

On Wed, 23 Feb 2005 10:02:05 -0500, rst at ai.mit.edu <rst at ai.mit.edu> wrote:
> Kragen Sitaker writes:
>  > We're thinking that assuring people that their work will be licensed
>  > as free software (possibly under some particular license), or that
>  > they will at least have the option to license it as free software
>  > under a license of their choosing, may alleviate this concern.
> I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to do here.  Code
> released under an open source license is no longer being held as
> confidential, and the methods and knowledge that code embodies
> certainly aren't trade secret.  So, if it's your intention to allow
> that, for code your employees develop "as part of their employment",
> you don't actually want to reserve those rights at all.

There is still the issue of ownership of copyright, even if the
copyright is granted under, say, GPL. For example, much of the code
Sun employees write and contribute to GNOME is officially (c) Sun,
instead of (c) $EMPLOYEE, which gives sun the legal right to defend
GPL violations of that code. Similarly, when Novell employees
contribute to Evolution, that code is (c) Novell, instead of (c) the
employee. While it isn't Novell's goal, AFAIK, this does give Novell
the right to a proprietary fork at some point in the future, since
they require copyright assignment for external contributors.


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