Copyright assignment for potential future free software project

Andreas K. Foerster akf1 at
Sat May 3 04:46:41 UTC 2003


i am not a lawyer, but I've read a lot about this topic, so I try to

Am Mittwoch, dem 30. Apr 2003 schrieb Marc Baaden:

> we are starting a project, which we intend to put under GNU license and
> distribute freely according to Free Software guidelines.
> I will be the main coordinator of the project, but eg for startup there
> will be a person working for about 4 months on some initial framework.
> Now I wonder whether I should make this person sign any kind of copyright
> assignment or so, in order to be able to deal with licensing issues etc.
> on my own, once we get to a stage where the software will be useful to
> more people than just ourselves.

That's not necessary.

> Can someone give me some guidance about the legal issues involved here ?
> a) will the person working temporarily on the project have copyright on
>    her work ?

Of course.
According the Bern convention she has this automatically, IIRC.

> b) is there a standard form to fill in or so

Accordung to german law the copyright (Urheberrecht) can't even be
given up (unveräußerliches Recht).

But if she puts her code under the GPL right from the beginning, she
gives you (and everybody else) the right to use it under these
conditions. And according to the GPL these rights can't be rejected

The issues are, that she could insist in being mentioned in the
copyright notice - and I hope, that's no problem for you.
The worst thing she could do, is to use her code also in proprietary 
software. But she can only do this with her very own work. With a
combined work this can only be done, if all the authors are content to
do this (God beware).


More information about the Discussion mailing list