Project Harmony: Inbound transfer of rights in FOSS Projects

Amanda Brock


Software engineers participating in open source software projects are frequently  asked to sign "Copyright Contribution Agreements ("CCAs)" with respect to the contributions they make to those projects. 
As lawyers we are happy to read and understand copyright agreements and licences. As lawyers few of us can code.  Software engineers (at least in Canonical) seem to understand more law than might be expected, but their expertise is software, not law. The proliferation of forms and wording in the CCAs, mean that they are routinely asked to sign up to a diverse selection of CCAs differing meanings and intentions. Valuable coding time is wasted as they wade through legal wording.This is not only an issue both from a productivity and efficiency perspective, but is also problematic in ensuring that developers understand what rights they grant in their work..Project Harmony came into being in the Summer of 2010. Its birth followed a long incubation and much discussion within Canonical and with parties such as SFLC and lawyers specialising in FOSS.  It is intended in the first instance to tackle CCA Proliferation.

Full Text: