Legal talk:Fedora Project Contributor Agreement

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Contents

New DRAFT FAQ

FAQ

Q. What is the purpose of the FPCA?
A: The FPCA exists for one main reason: to ensure that contributions to Fedora have acceptable licensing terms.

Q. If I agree to the FPCA, am I assigning copyright to Fedora or Red Hat?
A. No. The FPCA is not a copyright assignment agreement.

Q. Does this mean that Fedora will always relicense my contributions from $MY_LICENSE to MIT?
A. No. If you put a Free license on your contribution, we will use it under the terms of that license. If you put it under a non-Free license, we won't use it at all. Only unlicensed contributions where the copyright holder is the Fedora contributor qualify for the "default licensing" clause.

Q. Do I need to physically sign the FPCA?
A. No. We require that all contributors agree to it digitally, through the Fedora Accounts System (FAS). If you wish to additionally sign a physical copy and send it to us, the FPCA describes how to do this, but it is NOT required.

Q. Are all Fedora users/distributors required to agree to the FPCA?
A. No. Only Fedora contributors will be required to agree to the FPCA. Although, if you want to agree to it, you can. :)


Other FAQs

Q. The FPCA defines "default licenses" of MIT for code, and Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Unported for content, why not $OTHER_LICENSE?
A. These licenses were chosen because of their widespread use and compatibility with most other Free licenses.

Q. Why does the FPCA say I must waive Section 4d of the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license when it is used as a "default license"?
A. Section 4d, if invoked, would potentially make the licensing non-free. By promising to waive that clause (which the license permits), you're ensuring that your contribution will be Free for Fedora and for everyone else. That's important for Fedora, so we wrote it in.

Q. Are RPM spec files covered by the FPCA?
A. Sure. They're a contribution, aren't they? :) Nevertheless, they are explicitly named as an example of a contribution, to clear up a past confusion.

Q. I have a question/suggestion/flame about the FPCA that is not covered here, where should I send it to?
A. If you want to discuss it in public, please subscribe to the fedora-legal-list and post your thoughts there. If you do not wish to discuss it in public, feel free to send it via email to legal@fedoraproject.org.

Q. Can I use the FPCA as a license for my code/content?
A. Well, technically, you can do whatever you want, but you really shouldn't. It wouldn't work very well.

Q. My FOSS friendly project would like to take the FPCA, change Fedora to the name of our project, and use the FPCA, can we do this?
A. Sure. You can consider the FPCA to be under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (with section 4d waived), with the notable exception of the Fedora trademarks, which may only be used under the Fedora Trademark Guidelines. If modified, attribution should occur in the actual document itself. For attribution in other scenarios, please contact legal@fedoraproject.org. One piece of advice: If you decide to make changes beyond simply changing the name of the FPCA or replacing the Fedora trademarks, you really should consult with a lawyer, to make sure that the document is still legally valid and says what you mean. Remember, legalese is not English.

Q. Can we translate the FPCA into other languages?
A. Yes, although only the English text is binding for the purposes of agreement. Any translations which are created are not "legal translations", and exist only to assist non-English speaking contributors. All Fedora contributors must agree to the English text.

Q. Who wrote this amazing masterpiece of legal text?
A. Many people were involved in helping to craft this text. The primary author was Richard Fontana, with feedback from Tom Callaway, Pamela Chestek, Paul Frields, and Robert Tiller. Feel free to give them gifts (for example, drinks or tasty snacks) as thank yous, although, this is not a requirement (legal or otherwise). ;)

Historical FAQs

Q. Why change the Fedora ICLA?
A. The previous agreement, the Fedora ICLA, wasn't really well structured for the needs of Fedora. It was composed of a lot of legal boilerplate, and was written before Fedora had really taken shape. In fact, the only reason that we've been able to leverage it for as long as we have is because of some creative interpretation on the part of Fedora Legal. Also, there were many people who could not agree to the Fedora ICLA for a variety of reasons, and we hope that the FPCA will resolve most (if not all) of those concerns.

Q. Why did you change the name from ICLA to FPCA?
A. The new text is not really a "Contributor License Agreement" in the traditional sense, as that sort of agreement usually involves copyright assignment and an abandonment of rights to a project. The FPCA exists for one main reason: to ensure that contributions to Fedora have acceptable licensing terms. We chose a name that did not use "CLA" to avoid confusion and to mark it as a distinctly specific license.

Q. I signed the old Fedora ICLA, do I need to sign the FPCA?
A. Yes. We made a lot of noise about this and had a window of time for contributors to agree to the FPCA. Hopefully, the FPCA will work well for Fedora for the foreseeable future.

Q. I cannot agree to the FPCA, but the Fedora ICLA is okay for me, can I keep contributing under the terms of the Fedora ICLA?
A. No. We're retiring the Fedora ICLA. Please contact us (either publicly or privately) and explain why this situation is occurring, and we will see if there is a change we can make to the FPCA to make it acceptable.

Q. When is the FPCA be available for use?
A. The FPCA is currently available for use. New Fedora accounts are presented with the FPCA to sign, existing accounts will be prompted to sign the FPCA.

Q. When was the Fedora ICLA retired?
A. There was be a window of time (between Tuesday May 17, 2011 and Friday June 17, 2011) where we attempted to get all current Fedora contributors who had agreed to the Fedora ICLA to agree to the FPCA. Once that window closed, any contributors in the system who did not agree to the FPCA were be removed from "cla_done" (note: including membership in other, dependent FAS groups).

Q. Can I use the FPCA as a license for my code/content?
A. Well, technically, you can do whatever you want, but you really shouldn't. It wouldn't work very well.

Q. What changed between the 2011-03-29 Version and the 2015-02-03 Version?
A. The 2011-03-29 version referenced the Fedora Board, which has been obsoleted/replaced by the Fedora Council. The FPCA text was updated to reflect that change. No other changes were made.