Copyright assignment can be ethical, and can unify a project under common ownership, or it can be misused to impose control and bypass the GPL, indemnify the code against patent infringement, and subvert the developers' intent in contributing to an 'open source' project.

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cendrars's picture
Created by cendrars 7 years 45 weeks ago – Made popular 7 years 45 weeks ago
Category: Legal   Tags:
lozz's picture


7 years 45 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago


Neither assigned nor sold

I think that copyright ownership should always reside with the original authors and cannot be either assigned or sold. I don't think corporate bodies should be permitted to own any copyright.

J.B.Nicholson-Owens's picture


7 years 45 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago


FSF never asked for copyright assignment on "GPL code".

The article claims that the "FSF has always recommended that the ownership of GPL code be assigned to the FSF". This is not true.

To explain: the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL or GPL for short) is a copyright license. The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is an organization advocating for software freedom, and author of the GPL.

The h-online.com article links to http://www.gnu.org/licenses/why-assign.html as a source for the aforementioned claim. If you read that link you find that the "FSF requires that each author of code incorporated in FSF projects provide a copyright assignment".

Not all works licensed under the GPL are FSF projects. Most GPL'd works are not FSF projects. They happen to use the license the FSF wrote, but they are not under the aegis of the FSF.