[python-committers] There are two versions of the Contributor Agreement

M.-A. Lemburg mal at egenix.com
Thu Mar 24 14:29:26 CET 2011

R. David Murray wrote:
> On Thu, 24 Mar 2011 09:40:44 +0100, "M.-A. Lemburg" <mal at egenix.com> wrote:
>> The second one is the one we currently use. It does not
>> have the clause to cover past contributions, since we now
>> expect contributors to sign the CLA before the contributions
>> go into the repository.
> Note that this rarely happens in practice.  At least, it rarely happens
> that the PSF has the form in hand and acknowledged prior to the first
> significant checkin.

True and there's work underway to fix this.

I should have phrased the reply more carefully: while in the ideal
case, we should have the CLA before adding significant contributions
to the repo, it is fine if we only get it in time for a release
containing the contribution.

Also, given that we have for many years worked without any CLA,
let's not overrate all this. If a contributor uploads a patch to
the tracker, he or she will know that the patch could end up in the
repo and subsequent release - regardless of whether they sign a CLA or not.

Legally this is a gray area, though, which is why the PSF introduced
the CLA some years ago.

Note that the PSF may also get into trouble if such code was submitted
by someone who doesn't own the copyright to the patch. This has
happened a couple of times in the past (fortunately, before cutting
the release), so for larger contributions, it's better to double
check with the patch provider and get the CLA before adding the
code to the repo. The problem is then no longer a PSF problem,
but one of the patch provider.

Marc-Andre Lemburg

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