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Revised Fedora Project Contributor Agreement


For some time now, Fedora has been working with Red Hat Legal to come up with a replacement for the Fedora Individual Contributor License Agreement. As a result, the Fedora Project Contributor Agreement (FPCA) has been approved by Red Hat Legal, and is now being presented to the Fedora Community for comments and discussion.


Q. Why change the Fedora ICLA?
A. The current 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. If I agree to the FPCA, am I assigning copyright to Fedora or Red Hat?
A. No. The FPCA (like the Fedora ICLA before it) is not a copyright assignment agreement.

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. 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. 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. 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. I signed the old Fedora ICLA, will I need to sign the FPCA?
A. Yes. We will make a lot of noise about this and have 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 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

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 will the FPCA be available for use?
A. Fedora Legal wishes to give the Fedora community a window of time for discussion and review of the FPCA. This window is open until May 18, 2010 (2010-05-18). After that point, either a revised FPCA will be released for review, or we will begin the process of phasing in the FPCA and phasing out the Fedora ICLA.

Q. When will the Fedora ICLA be retired?
A. There will be a window of time (to be determined) where we will attempt to get all current Fedora contributors who have agreed to the Fedora ICLA to agree to the FPCA. Once that window has closed, any contributors in the system who have not agreed to the FPCA will be removed from "cla_done" (note: this may affect 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. 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 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). ;)


 The Fedora Project Contributor Agreement
[DRAFT, version 2010-04-08-2]


We require that Fedora Project ("Fedora") contributors agree to this
Fedora Project Contributor Agreement (FPCA) to ensure that
contributions to Fedora have acceptable licensing terms.


The FPCA is *not* a copyright assignment agreement.

The FPCA does *not* somehow supersede the existing licensing terms
that apply to Fedora contributions.  There are two important subpoints
here.  First, the FPCA does not apply to upstream code (or other
material) that you didn't write; indeed, it would be preposterous for
it to attempt to do so.  Note the narrow way in which we have defined
capital-c "Contribution".  Second, the main provision of the FPCA
specifies that a default license will apply to code that you wrote,
but only to the extent that you have not bothered to put an explicit
license on it. Therefore, the FPCA is *not* some sort of special
permissive license granted to any party, despite the explicit choice
of a more restrictive license by you or by upstream developers.


0.  Definitions.

"Code" means (i) software code, (ii) any other functional material
whose principal purpose is to control or facilitate the building of
packages, such as an RPM spec file, (iii) font files, and (iv) other
kinds of copyrightable material that the Fedora Project Board has
classified as "code" rather than "content".

"Content" means any copyrightable material that is not Code, such as,
without limitation, (i) non-functional data sets, (ii) documentation,
(iii) wiki edits, (iv) music files, (v) graphic image files, (vi) help
files, and (vii) other kinds of copyrightable material that the Fedora
Project Board has classified as "content" rather than "code".

"Contribution" means a Work that You created, excluding any portion
that was created by someone else.  (For example, if You Submit a
package to Fedora, the spec file You write may be a Contribution, but
all the upstream code in the associated SRPM that You did not write is
not a Contribution for purposes of this FPCA.)  A Contribution
consists either of Code or of Content.

"Current Default License", with respect to a Contribution, means (i)
if the Contribution is Code, the free software license commonly known
as the MIT License (also known as the Expat License), specifically the
license variant identified as "Modern Style with sublicense" at
and (ii) if the Contribution is Content, the Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license ("CC-BY-SA"), the text of
which is available at
<>, along with
a waiver of the right to enforce, and an agreement not to assert,
Section 4d of CC-BY-SA against the Fedora Community, to the fullest
extent permitted by applicable law.  

"Fedora Community" means (i) all Fedora participants, and (ii) all
persons receiving Contributions directly or indirectly from or through

"Licensed" means covered by explicit licensing terms that are
conspicuous and readily discernible to recipients.

"Submit" means to use some mode of electronic communication (for
example, without limitation, mailing lists, bug tracking systems, and
source code version control systems administered by Fedora) to
voluntarily provide a Contribution to Fedora.

"Unlicensed" means not Licensed.

"Work" means a copyrightable work of authorship. A Work may be a
portion of a larger Work, and a Work may be a modification of or
addition to another Work.

"You" means the individual accepting this instance of the FPCA.

1. Copyright Permission Required for All Contributions.

If You are not the copyright holder of a given Contribution that You
wish to Submit to Fedora (for example, if Your employer or university
holds copyright in it), it is Your responsibility to first obtain
authorization from the copyright holder to Submit the Contribution
under the terms of this FPCA on behalf of, or otherwise with the
permission of, that copyright holder.  One form of such authorization
is for the copyright holder to place, or permit You to place, a
license acceptable for Fedora on the Contribution.

2.  Licensed Contributions.

If Your Contribution is Licensed, Your Contribution will be governed
by the terms under which it has been licensed.

3.  Default Licensing of Unlicensed Contributions.

If You Submit an Unlicensed Contribution to Fedora, the license to the
Fedora Community for that Contribution shall be the Current Default

The Fedora Project Board may, by public announcement, subsequently
designate an additional or alternative default license for a given
category of Contribution (a "Later Default License"). A Later Default
License shall be a free software license (for Code) or a free content
license (for Content) and shall be chosen from the list of acceptable
licenses for Fedora, currently located at, as that list may be revised
from time to time by the Fedora Project Board. 

Once a Later Default License has been designated, Your Unlicensed
Contribution shall also be licensed to the Fedora Community under that
Later Default License.  Such designation shall not affect the
continuing applicability of the Current Default License to Your

You consent to having Fedora provide reasonable notice of Your
licensing of Your Contribution under the Current Default License (and,
if applicable, a Later Default License) in a manner determined by

4.  Acceptance.

You must signify Your assent to the terms of this FPCA through
specific electronic means established by Fedora (such as by
click-through acceptance means).

You may also, at Your option, and without eliminating the requirement
set forth in the preceding paragraph, send a copy of this FPCA,
bearing Your written signature indicating Your acceptance of its
terms, by email to, by fax to +1 919 754 3704,
or by postal mail to:

  Fedora Legal
  c/o Red Hat, Inc.
  1801 Varsity Drive
  Raleigh, NC 27606