[Python-Dev] Why does the Contributor Agreement need my address?

Antoine Pitrou solipsis at pitrou.net
Sun Sep 9 15:57:03 EDT 2018

On Sun, 9 Sep 2018 15:15:36 -0400
Terry Reedy <tjreedy at udel.edu> wrote:
> On 9/9/2018 1:49 PM, Antoine Pitrou wrote:
> > On Sat, 8 Sep 2018 23:11:27 -0400
> > "Joseph C. Sible" <josephcsible at gmail.com> wrote:  
> >> I'm used to signing CLA's that require nothing beyond a name and a check
> >> box. When I went to sign the PSF Contributor Agreement so I can submit a PR
> >> for CPython, I was surprised to see that it wants my address. Why does the
> >> Python Software Foundation need this, especially when nobody else does?  
> I presume others are correct that an address helps as an identifier. 

It probably does, though it's hardly perfect.  Mostly it can serve as a
contact point, but these days an e-mail address might be more durable
than a postal address (and it's probably a much better identifier too).

> Part of the CLA is informing 
> contributors that we only want code that can be legally contributed, and 
> contributors agreeing that they will offer such.

You don't need someone's postal address to inform them, if you're not
sending them any paper material (which the PSF doesn't, AFAIR).  Asking
a contributor their postal address does not make them better informed.

> > I don't think I've ever received anything from the PSF by postal mail,
> > so if you don't want to give out your postal address, or simply don't
> > have one, then you can probably submit a fake one.  
> DON'T DO THIS, anyone.  If you were to be a defendant or witness in a 
> lawsuit, expect to be asked "Did you reside at this address when you 
> signed the CLA?"

I'm not sure why anyone would ask that question.  Residing somewhere
doesn't have much to do with copyright issues (except when determining
which national law should apply, and perhaps even not).  And a postal
address doesn't have to be where you reside, either : people can very
well have their postal address at a friend's or relative's while not
living there, and they can very well give different postal addresses
for different purposes (just like you can give a different e-mail
address to your professional and personal contacts).

Besides, even in a dysfunctional legal system, I'd be surprised if a
Python copyright lawsuit would involve asking all past Python
contributors (the thousands of them, assuming they can all be
successfully contacted and brought to the court) whether they did
really live at the postal address they once declared on their CLA.

But, yes, perhaps better to leave the entry blank or write "irrelevant",
if the PSF accepts that :-)



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