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From "Cliff Schmidt" <>
Subject RE: What to do with FTPServer and AltRMI
Date Thu, 04 Nov 2004 00:50:48 GMT
Adding my $0.02.  IANAL, just a guy who deals with this stuff a 

Stefano Mazzocchi wrote on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 10:11 AM:

> J Aaron Farr wrote:
>> Let's say a group of developers bring an LGPL'd project to Apache
>> called JExample from
> Ok.
>> So they convert the license to ASL 2.0 and
>> go through all the other hoops but after six months or so, things
>> have stalled and it's apparent the project isn't ready for the ASF. 
>> Now what? Can they take the code and the name JExample and just
>> return to SourceForge?
> With the code they owned before entering incubation they can do
> whatever the want at any point in time and with any project.

This is true if they continue to own the copyright to the code.
If they transferred ownership of copyright to the ASF for some reason, 
then they would only be able to do what is described in the Apache 
License.  Today, contributions to Apache do not require any transfer
of copyright ownership.

I only mention this to point out what would happen if the ASF ever
changed the current policy from having code simply licensed to the 
ASF (as described in the Contributor License Agreement and Software
Grant) to requiring transfer of ownership to the ASF.  If the latter
ever happened, you'd be limited to what everyone else can do with the
code under the Apache License, even if it was 100% written by you
before ever approaching Apache.

>> What about code that was contributed during Incubation?
> They would have to obtain a license from the ASF to use that code, or,
> in alternative, a license from each invididual contributor. Since that
> license comes along with the files, if they like that license, they
> are set.
> If they don't, they either have to have that code relicensed to them
> by each and every individual contributor or ask the ASF for licensing
> that code under another license (and that is very unlikely to happen,
> as Metro discussions showed).

For all code contributed by the same group of developers, whether 
during incubation or any time afterwards, the same answer applies as
I stated above.  They still own their code.  They can relicense it
however they like; they just can't revoke the rights that they gave 
the ASF. 

For code contributed by other developers, they would be able to do
whatever is allowed by the Apache License, which would include moving
it into another open source project, as long as the requirements to
include a copy of the Apache License and to note the origin and any
modifications are observed (see the license for the complete set of
requirements).  As Stefano stated, if someone wanted something 
beyond what the Apache License allows, permission from the copyright 
holder(s) would be needed.

Of course, if the community of developers is strong and diverse, 
there will probably be a lot of code that is contributed by others,
including patches that get incorporated into files that used to be
completely owned by the original developers.  So, you still own your 
own contributions, but you might not own the latest version of a 
particular file if someone else has contributed their patches to it.  
Note that this applies to contributions checked in by other 
committers as well as patches sent in by non-committers.

>> Or switching back to the LGPL?
> see above: they can do whatever they want with the code they own,
> including relicensing. But for code that others own, they need a
> license that allows them to put them under the LGPL. The ASF licenses
> code only under the apache license. So, if you want another license,
> you have to go to each contributor one by one and have that
> relicensed to you under terms that allow you to do the LGPL. Or, of
> course, rewrite those parts yourself.

Even without getting another license, code from Apache can still
be included within products licensed under a different license as 
long as that license doesn't conflict with the requirements of the
Apache License.  For the issues around including Apache-licensed code
inside an LGPL or GPL project, see

Otherwise, as Stefano says above, you would need to get the copyright
owners to give you a license that is compatible with (or identical 
to) the license you would like to use.

>> What if it wasn't open source before?
> Same thing, the terms of the new licensing scheme you are
> transitioning to don't matter.
>> I'm
>> not sure if we have policies in place for this yet.  If so, would
>> someone please point them out?
> I don't think the incubator has a policy/guideline for "failed
> incubation", but I agree that having one would be useful, if only to
> give people an idea.
> Note that while copyright of the code is not transferred to the ASF
> but only licensed by the original contributors, the trademarks and
> licensing rights are, thru the CLAs.
> Whether or not we (the ASF) wants to give back trademarks on the name
> to the original contributor is, IMHO, something that should be
> decided case by case.

I don't know exactly what trademarks that the ASF owns, but I bet they
are limited to words like "Apache" and "Apache Software Foundation", 
and maybe images like the Apache feather.  So, I don't think any 
individual project at Apache has its own trademark.  The JExample 
project you referred to wouldn't have its own trademark unless the
original developers applied for one.  What is clear is that no open 
source project can include "Apache" in the name of their project 
without permission of the ASF.  So, I don't know why the incubating
"Apache JExample" project couldn't depart incubation, move back to and call itself "JExample".


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