[Mailman3-dev] Mailman 3 Contributors Agreement

Barry Warsaw barry at python.org
Sun Mar 14 18:17:46 EST 2004

Since Mailman 3 will be a near total rewrite, we have an opportunity to
clean up Mailman's IP.  I plan to make a few changes to the copyright
and contribution procedure we use for Mailman 3.  Please note that
nothing will change for Mailman 2.

A summary of the changes:

      * I will retain copyright for Mailman 3; I won't be assigning
        copyright to the Free Software Foundation.
      * For all contributions from others, I'm going to ask you to sign
        a joint ownership agreement, similar to what is done for Zope
      * Mailman 3 will still be released under the GPL, but I reserve
        the right to dual-license Mailman 3.

I want to retain copyright for Mailman 3 because I want to be able to
control Mailman's future.  For example, it may be that the Python
Software Foundation is ultimately a better steward of Mailman's
copyright.  I also feel that a joint ownership agreement on all
contributions acknowledges the hard work of contributors, by allowing
them to retain an ownership stake in their own code.

I believe the GPL is still the appropriate license for Mailman 3, and I
want to assure contributors that their code will always be included in a
free/open source release.  But I can see situations where alternative
dual-license options should be considered, perhaps to make some non-GPL
uses available, or to gain some commercial support.

I have a draft of the Mailman 3 Contributors Agreement available here:


I'd like to come to some agreement about this so that the agreement will
be ready for the Mailman 3 sprints at PyConII.

So now I don my asbestos underwear and invite your comments. :)


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