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Proposed policy regarding contribution agreements:

All committers and direct contributions to the SF will require an agreement on file. There will be no exceptions to this policy. This does not apply to existing 3rd party libraries used in the Sakai software which will be introduced according to 3rd party evaluation process.

The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) uses three distinct agreements for:

  1. Individual Contributors
  2. Organizational Contributors
  3. One time software grants

The ASF requires an individual contributor agreement (CLA) for every committer, and seeks individual agreements from others offering contributions. The ASF also requires a corporate contributor agreement (CCLA) to cover work for hire of individual contributors. A corporation may may an optional software grant when executing the CCLA.

The ASF also has a simplified form for making a software grant.

Barnaby has developed a single agreement that is based on the Apache agreements and it covers all three situations. With Barnaby's proposed agreement the Sakai Foundation would have the same policies as described above, but a single agreement.

The Sakai Foundation Board must decide whether to: 1) use the Apache agreements and change ASF to SF where applicable, or 2) Use Barnaby's agreement. There are few material legal differences between the two choices. The choice boils down to which option is going to be easier to manage in practice, and which will be more readily accepted by individuals and organizations that must execute the agreements.

Option #1

Use Barnaby's suggested agreement for all contribution agreement needs (individual, organizational, donations)

Advantages

  1. Improved legal language (Barnaby please elaborate)
  2. Copyright assignment. This agreement has a copyright assignment option that is different than Apache's agreement. Apache's contributor agreement has no such option. Is this an advantage? Why doesn't Apache do it? Apache still marks code developed under these agreements as "copyright 2006 The Apache Software Foundation."

Disadvantages

  1. The document tries to satisfy 3 different purposes and, in doing so, is less intuitive to use.
  2. The copyright assignment makes the agreement a bit harder to understand. The user has to make a choice that they may require legal consultation to make.

Option #2

Use Apache agreements for all three but with names/addresses changed. This is essentially what the founding partners did.

Individual Contributor License Agreement (CLA)
Corporate CLA (CCLA)
Software Grant

Advantages

  1. Simple. These agreements are each very focused and easy to understand/apply.
  2. Apache Brand Value. It will probably be easier to have people execute an agreement we can say is "the same" as Apache's agreement. We've seen this in questions about the ECL.

Disadvantages

  1. ???
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