Intellectual property issues in software

From WhyNotWiki
Revision as of 22:21, 31 August 2007 by Tyler (Talk | contribs)
(diff) ←Older revision | Current revision (diff) | Newer revision→ (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

Intellectual property issues in software  edit   (Category  edit) .


How much control should any one person have over a software project?

Tyler (2006-07-07 18:07)

As much as the copyright holder wants to have, right?

What if, even though it was started by just one person, the project becomes widely adopted, with the personal and economic interests of many people riding on the project? Should that one person still have sole control over the path that the project takes, assuming he hasn't decided to give it up?

I think, for example, about Linus (Linux), Matz (Ruby), and DHH (Rails). They can do whatever they want with their software.

And what can people do about it if they don't like their choices? Maybe they can fork off their own unofficial version of the software. But they certainly can't alter the course of the official project, except through diplomacy.

I'm not suggesting that they shouldn't have so much control or say I've thought of a better way to do things. I just find it fascinating and sometimes amazing that an individual can hold so much influence / control over others. They depend on these powerful people. I've seen people write things like "Matz is promising changes in Ruby 2.0, but in the meanitem, we have a couple of suggestions to minimize the problems with local and block variables interfacing." (Dave Thomas, Programming Ruby, 2nd ed) and ~"Hopefully DHH will decide to put that in the next version of Rails".

Can a copyright be shared?

Tyler (2006-07-07 23:19)

Or can only registered legal entities (like corporations) hold copyright rights?

If multiple people can in fact share a copyright, then I wonder:

  • Are there disadvantages to having the multiple holders?
  • To legally make a change in licensing terms or grant some new/special license to someone, does one have to get approval from all the copyright holders or is one enough?
  • What happens if there's a dispute?
  • Do they all have equal shares to the copyright?

Maybe it's best to have a "clean lineage". And maybe to do that, it would be better to have one entity (perhaps a foundation, like the Mozilla Foundation) hold the copyright rather than having a huge list of all the individuals each time you make a copyright attribution...

It's a similar issue with book authorship, I think. It's just plain easier when there's only one author. It's nice and easy to attribute a quote to someone when there's only one author.

Projects with multiple copyright holders listed:


"I want to work on / extend an open-source project but it's copyrighted. Should I be concerned?" or "Who cares who the copyright holder is!"

As long as the license allows you to modify and extend it, then it shouldn't matter who owns the copyright. Most licenses are perpetual, meaning the copyright holder can't/won't revoke the rights that it grants you, so you can freely modify it "forever".

subversion: Subversion FAQ ( Retrieved on 2007-03-05 16:14.

Is Subversion proprietary? I heard that it belongs to CollabNet. No, Subversion is open source / free software. CollabNet pays the salaries of several full-time developers, and holds the copyright on the code, but that copyright is an Apache/BSD-style license which is fully compliant with the Debian Free Software Guidelines. In other words, you are free to download, modify, and redistribute Subversion as you please; no permission from CollabNet or anyone else is required.

Copying ideas Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.

Ethana2,August 31, 2007 @ 02:28AM

All those complaining about copying ideas: Who cares? Copy all you want. Ideas are information, and that cannot be contained. Set it free. The open source community doesn't need to test for a good idea before implementing it in some form. Just write the code, and see how it does. That's why we have KDE Wink ..and for the record, we have made a heck of a lot more good ideas than we've reused. Vista's still trying to catch up to Compiz Fusion.

[Sources of information (category)]

Intellectual property issues in software  edit   (Category  edit) .

Open-source licenses  edit   (Category  edit)

Personal tools