Flexible Content Management System


GNU/GPL and Copyright Questions: Real Life Case Study

Contributed by on Apr 15, 2003 - 08:39 PM

Here's the situation, there is a client who has a basic understanding of Open Source/FSF movements. The client wants a customized version of PN. They ask for several personalized modules requiring general updates and changes in the code. The client agrees to the GNU/GPL license but wants to hold a "co-copyright" on the changes/personalized versions of the modules. This client is part of a large public organization, remember your contact understands the "basics" of GNU/GPL but has to explain this agreement to the bigger organization/his bosses who has signoff on their agreements. However, they are used to holding the "copyright" so to speak because normally things like this would be a "work for hire".

Your contact can get them to agree to the GNU/GPL but they still think they want to have "co-copyright" on the changed/customized modules. My thought is the reason for the copyright is to maintain a bit of control over your product or creation after it is out of your hands. However, the GNU/GPL gives removes all this control so in my opinion this makes the "copyright" a non-issue since it takes away the control issues. Does that make sense?

The other issue is you can't "re-copyright" something after it already has a "copyright" right? So this would also nullify the "co-copyright" and you could only "co-copyright" the changes you've made and then you'd have to get the developers to give up their right to the "copyright". Does that make sense? :-)

Anyway, I hope this is enough info to get the discussion started and I look forward to hearing your thoughts, ideas, and feedback.

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