[Python-mode] FSF assignment policy

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Wed Jan 28 03:09:55 CET 2009

Andreas Roehler writes:

 > The question already touched so far is, if or how copyright might
 > declared with respect to programs.

Sure, but that is entirely irrelevant to the assignment issue.  The
assignment policy takes current copyright law as given.

So I don't think this is a useful conversation to have on python-mode
or xemacs-beta at this time.  Better gnu.misc.discuss or so.

 > That's why giving it free is ok and best. Then copyright is no
 > longer a danger.

This is something that is relevant to python-mode, but not really to
xemacs-beta, since XEmacs has no assignment policy and is unlikely to
get one AFAICS.  If you want a change in Emacs's policy, you'll need
to do direct lobbying of the FSF officers and/or Emacs maintainers:
xemacs-beta and python-mode have no power there.

I will say that opinions diverge dramatically on the efficacy of
various possible ways of "neutralizing" copyright.  AFAICS the Emacs
Project is not about to change its assignment policy.  If you do not
want to assign your work, you can dedicate it to the public domain,
for example.  But if you do not do something that allows the FSF
control over derived code (ie, code written by others based on your
code), AIUI it will not be possible for a merged package incorporating
your contributions to be accepted into Emacs.

I don't have a strong preference one way or the other; if you don't
(or do!) want to assign, I'm not going to ask you to reconsider.  But
you should remember that failing to assign will inherently cause more
work for you, and also may increase friction within your community.
To mitigate that, I would be mildly pleased if you assigned your
rights to any merger of python.el and python-mode.el to the FSF.

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