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License Management Practice


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All contributors--effectively the entire community will be impacted by this practice. The Licensing WG is responsible for this practice and plays a key role in its operation and maintenance.


The Sakai Foundation uses various licenses to distribute software and documentation, to accept regular contributions from individuals and organizations, and to accept larger grants of existing software products.

These licenses and the license management practice help us achieve our goal of providing reliable and long-lived software products through collaborative open source software development. In all cases, contributors retain full rights to use their original contributions for any other purpose outside of Sakai while providing the Foundation the right to distribute and build upon their work within Sakai .


This practice describes the policies, procedures, and legal documents which the Sakai Foundation (SF) uses to protect the Sakai brand, the Foundation, and the community by ensuring a legally compliant and simple distribution, while minimizing the "process overhead."

This is achieved by:

  1. Describing the Educational Community License and its application.
  2. Describing the Contribution Agreements the Foundation uses to accept contributions from the community.
  3. Describing the Process by which 3rd party code released by other projects is introduced into the Sakai distribution, how it is evaluated, how decisions are made, and how it is documented.
  4. 4. Providing a forum for discussion and resolution of licensing questions and issues.

Licensing of Distributions

All software produced by The Sakai Foundation or any of its projects or subjects is licensed according to the terms of the Educational Community License.

Educational Community License, Version 1.0

The Educational Community License (ECL) consists of a set of copyright licensing terms that may be found at . The ECL was certified by the Open Source Initiative in 2004.

The ECL is fundamental to achieving the goals of the Sakai Foundation and supportive of collaborative development across both nonprofit and commercial organizations.

All packages produced by the Sakai Foundation are implicitly licensed under the Educational Community License, Version 1.0, unless otherwise explicitly stated. More developer documentation on how to apply the ECL to your work can be found in Applying the ECL .

Contributor License Agreements

The SF desires that all contributors of ideas, code, or documentation to the Sakai projects complete, sign, and submit (via snailmail, fax, or signed PDF) an Individual Contributor License Agreement (CLA) . The purpose of this agreement is to clearly define the terms under which intellectual property has been contributed to the SF and thereby allow us to defend the project should there be a legal dispute regarding the software at some future time. A signed CLA is required to be on file before an individual is given commit rights to an SF project.

For a corporation that has assigned employees to work on a Sakai project, a Corporate CLA (CCLA) is available for contributing intellectual property via the corporation that may have been assigned as part of an employment agreement. Note that a Corporate CLA does not remove the need for every developer to sign their own CLA as an individual, to cover their contributions that are not owned by the corporation signing the CLA.


community contribution notice

We are considering placing a community contribution notice at various points of entry (mailing list subscription, problem report entry, etc.) so that nobody can reasonably claim they were ignorant of the terms for contributing.

Software Grants

When an individual or corporation decides to donate a body of existing software or documentation to one of the Sakai projects, they need to execute a formal Software Grant agreement with the SF.

Working with 3 rd Party Code

The Sakai software distribution(s) use 3rd party code and libraries developed by other individuals and organizations and licensed under specific terms deemed compatible with the ECL and the SF's policies.

Process Overview

The following workflow describes the process of evaluating new 3rd party code and/or libraries for inclusion in the Sakai project. The basic idea is that as developers identify code that would be useful in meeting development objectives, they must follow this process to ensure that the conditions of the new code’s license are compatible with the Sakai license and distribution practices.


Process Detail

P1. Identify 3rd party code

A developer identifies code that would be useful to use in the project. It is important at this point to determine how the code will be used, how it is licensed, and whether or not the terms of use are compatible with Sakai 's distribution practices.

P2. Initiate assessment

Before beginning to use any 3rd party code, the developer must initiate a conversation with the Licensing WG. Members of the Licensing WG will work with the developer to determine compatability and any requirements that go along with using the new software. This conversation begins with the developer completing an initial checklist and sending it to .

D1. Ok to distribute?

Licensing WG
The licensing WG will work with the developer to determine whether the terms of use for the 3rd party code is compatible, and the best approach to including the new code in the project. If the Licensing WG determines that the code is acceptable to distribute then the process moves on to P5. If it is not acceptable, the process leads us to P3. If the developer disagrees with the Licensing WG, the escalation process will be to the PM, and then, if necessary, to the Board.

P3. Initiate conversation with author

If the initial assessment determined that the terms are not acceptable, the developer may wish to contact the author and request that the author grant Sakai the right to distribute the code under more acceptable terms. The best way to do this is by using a st a ndard request email template asking the author to execute a contribution of the code to the Sakai Foundation. Other acceptable outcomes would be permission to use the work under the terms of the ECL, Apache 2.0 license, or another compatible license.

D2. Re-license?

If negotiation with the author is successful, proceed to P5. If unsuccessful, proceed to P4.

P4. Find alternative, or alternative way to distribute

If the terms of use for the work in question are deemed unacceptable, the developer has two options:

  1. Find an alternative.
  2. Find an alternative method of distribution. It may be acceptable to have the end user download the work in question themselves, removing the Sakai Foundation from the chain of responsibility.

P5. Document use and initiate any requirements

If the work in question is deemed acceptable to use. It's use must be documented on the Library and Licensing Information page. Any requirements for licensing and/or attribution must also be put in place. Often this involves:

  1. Adding the 3rd party license(s) to the licenses folder at the top of the distribution.
  2. Adding proper attribution to the Acknowledgments Screen .

In all cases, be sure to obey the licensing constraints of the original author. See Applying the ECL for more information.

Document History





Description of Change



Chris Coppola

Initial Draft










Appendix A – The Educational Community License, Version 1.0

This Educational Community License (the "License") applies to any original work of authorship (the "Original Work") whose owner (the "Licensor") has placed the following notice immediately following the copyright notice for the Original Work:

Copyright (c) <year> <copyright holders>

Licensed under the Educational Community License version 1.0

This Original Work, including software, source code, documents, or other related items, is being provided by the copyright holder(s) subject to the terms of the Educational Community License. By obtaining, using and/or copying this Original Work, you agree that you have read, understand, and will comply with the following terms and conditions of the Educational Community License:

Permission to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, and sublicense this Original Work and its documentation, with or without modification, for any purpose, and without fee or royalty to the copyright holder(s) is hereby granted, provided that you include the following on ALL copies of the Original Work or portions thereof, including modifications or derivatives, that you make:

The full text of the Educational Community License in a location viewable to users of the redistributed or derivative work.

Any pre-existing intellectual property disclaimers, notices, or terms and conditions.

Notice of any changes or modifications to the Original Work, including the date the changes were made.

Any modifications of the Original Work must be distributed in such a manner as to avoid any confusion with the Original Work of the copyright holders.


The name and trademarks of copyright holder(s) may NOT be used in advertising or publicity pertaining to the Original or Derivative Works without specific, written prior permission. Title to copyright in the Original Work and any associated documentation will at all times remain with the copyright holders.

Appendix B – Applying the ECL

The following is to provide guidance for software developers, both inside and outside the Sakai projects, to understand what they need to do to apply the Educational Community License, Version 1.0 (ECLv1), to their own or the SF's software, including source code, documentation, and binary distributions. It is not intended to supplant or otherwise modify any of the terms within the license itself.

Understanding the License

The ECLv1 consists of a set of copyright licensing terms that are documented in the ecl1.txt file. The license terms are written in such a way that they can be used by anyone, not just the SF, and can be applied by reference to the versioned license terms.

Applying the license to a Sakai software distribution

The Sakai software distribution is an aggregation of software developed and copyrighted by multiple parties. The distribution as a whole is licensed under the ECL by the Sakai Foundation. Individual source files, libraries, and other contributions frequently must retain acknowledgements and copyright notices.

The ECL is applied to the Sakai software distribution by:

  1. Placing the following copyright statement in the footer of the application as it is rendered by default:

Copyright 2003-2005 The Sakai Foundation. All rights reserved.
Portions of Sakai are copyrighted by other parties as described in the Acknowledgments screen.

  1. Maintaining an accurate and complete Acknowledgments Screen that includes an “OSI Certified” Logo, and the following statement, followed by a detailed list of acknowledgments.

Copyright 2003-2005 The Sakai Foundation. All rights reserved. Sakai is licensed for use pursuant to the Educational Community License, Version 1.0 . Portions of Sakai are copyrighted by other parties, including the parties listed below, and you should see the licenses directory for complete copyright and licensing information.


The current acknowledgments screen is located at:

  1. Placing the ecl1.txt file in the root of the licenses folder of the source distribution.

Applying the license to individual source files and libraries

The license is applied to each source file (code and documentation by including a short copyright notice at the top, as demonstrated below:

Copyright [yyyy] [name of copyright owner]

Licensed under the Educational Community License, Version 1.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.


Source files contributed to or developed as part of a SF project should begin with a copyright notice like:


Copyright 2005 The Sakai Foundation.

– or –

Copyright 2003-2005 The Sakai Foundation.
– or –
Copyright 2003,2005 The Sakai Foundation.


where the years given start with the first publication year of the file contents (the authored expression) and include a range of years for each year that new significant content (derivative work) is published within the file. Since the SF publishes its code in public source code modules (CVS and Subversion), we generally want to include a range of years starting with the year of origin. Do not worry about consistency in the first year – it is not supposed to be uniform and should never be dated prior to the year of first creation.

If the distribution also contains source files not owned by the SF, such as third-party libraries, then be sure to leave their licenses intact. Follow the process for evaluating third-party code for use in Sakai.