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The New License and New Joint Copyright Assignment

There are some important announcements, and they are good. We have:

A New Documentation License

As you know, OpenOffice.org has historically used a dual license strategy for source code: the LGPL and SISSL. Both of these licenses allow for Open Source work to be done. They also allow for commercialization. However, neither is particularly good for documents that are meant to be modified by other people and used on the website or in publications.

So, over the last few months we (a group including Sun and OpenOffice.org volunteers) have worked together to craft a new license, the Public Document License, for meeting these needs. This new license permits the free modification of documents covered by it, thereby encouraging collaboration on documents posted to the OpenOffice.org website.


A New Copyright Assignment

Since its beginning, OpenOffice.org has required committers to CVS (including website content) to sign over their copyright to Sun to ensure there is a single entity holding copyright. The code is of course governed by the Open Source licenses. But the Copyright Assignment, as it is known, does not accommodate contributors who wish to retain copyright over their contributions.

Thus, the new Joint Copyright Assignment. Under the JCA, developers may now also keep all rights to any code and related material they commit to the source. Everyone benefits from this strategy: developers may do as they please with their code and at the same time a single, coherent entity jointly holds the copyright for the OpenOffice.org source. This is important for instance in the case of legal defense.

The new copyright structure also makes it easier for people to contribute to the website. People no longer need to fill out a copyright assignment to submit material to the website; the PDL is adequate for this purpose.

For more information, please refer to these pages:


-Louis Suárez-Potts
Community Manager
OpenOffice.org

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