does away with the requirement for copyright assignments to the FSF:
gcc.gnu.org/pipermail/gcc/2021

I think it’s a wise decision in this day and age. 👍

@civodul

More importantly than the decision itself, it sets a good precident, as many companies insist on copyright assignments and have been able to point to the FSF.

There is still the issue of handling copyright relicensing when the author has passed on, but perhaps one problem at a time?

@emacsen I think relicensing it not much of an issue: it’s copyleft and can only go in the direction of more freedoms for users (as in: one can redistribute LGPL code under GPL, GPL code under AGPL, etc.).

As long as it does not become the wild west like , with enough of a mess to make the SCO lawsuit possible, I think it’s okay. (Unfortunately the Steering Committee’s statement does not rule out the possibility of creating a mess…)

@civodul @emacsen The copyright assignment of the FSF has always been a tool to allow strategic relicensing to weaker licenses if a proprietary competitor crops up that threatens to dominate the domain.

In an age of widespread open core strategies that looks like a wise option to have.

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@ArneBab @emacsen I’ve never heard about assignment to the FSF being used as a tool to allow relicening under a weaker license; that would be quite astonishing!

The main justification is that it makes it easier to enforce copyright in court:
gnu.org/licenses/why-assign.ht
gnu.org/prep/maintain/maintain

@civodul @emacsen here’s the argumentation when such weakening of a license can be a net win for free software: ebb.org/bkuhn/blog/2009/01/14/

@ArneBab @emacsen @civodul It's a good argument, but not one the FSF has ever made for their copyright assignment practice.

@clacke @emacsen @civodul It is an argument that Bradley Kuhn made for the relicensing of Qt. I don’t know whether there is official text on the FSF pages, but argumentation by Bradley Kuhn is pretty close to decisionmaking in the FSF.

@clacke @emacsen @civodul that’s what I said about not knowing whether the argument for strategic relicensing is on the FSF page.But Bradley was executive director and is on the board of directors, so they are most definitely aware of that option and the benefits it can bring.

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