[implementations-list] Dear FSF clerk, here are all my questions about copyright assigment

Jason Spiro jasonspiro3 at gmail.com
Mon Dec 1 02:40:03 CET 2008

Dear FSF copyright assignment clerk,

I am the maintainer of two Emacs add-ons:  Vimpulse[1] and
viper-in-more-modes[2].  Vimpulse is still too buggy to ship with
Emacs, and I don't use or care much about viper-in-more-modes so have
never even evaluated whether they can ship with Emacs.  But I would
like to start getting copyright assignments for both add-ons now so
that they can ship with Emacs eventually.

I care so little about viper-in-more-modes that I will not talk about
it in the rest of this email.  The rest of this email talks about
Vimpulse only.

I am not a main contributor.  There are two main contributors:
Alessandro Piras (in Italy) and Brad Beveridge (I think in Canada).
They said they are both willing to sign copyright assignment papers.
I have contributed maybe 5 lines of code and dozens of lines of
documentation.  I have already disclaimed all copyright to my
contributions and placed my contributions in the public domain, but I
will gladly sign papers too if you like.

Question 1:  Is it good that I have placed my contributions in the
public domain?  (I live in Canada.)

There have been some other contributors.  I have no idea exactly how
many; I would have to look at each of the 80 old email threads in my
inbox relating to Vimpulse.  Maybe I will move them all into the
Vimpulse bug tracker at ourproject.org, which is currently empty, for
ease of future tracking.  The following are estimates based on
memories from last year:  Some people have contributed one- or
two-line fixes.  Perhaps half a dozen (or maybe less) people have
contributed larger amounts of code:  e.g. ten to twenty lines.

Question 2:  What is the minimum number of lines that requires
copyright assignment?  (I tried doing a Google search for 'fsf
copyright assignment' and found the old document [3] from 'prep' which
refers to various files that let me check whether papers have been
received and talk more about the various options (assign vs. disclaim)
and such.  But I couldn't find the files it refers to.  It would be
wonderful if you could put those files up on the web.

Q3:  What if someone contributes code which does nothing but define
keybindings (keyboard shortcuts)?

Q4:  Should I include lines of documentation / comments in my count of
lines of code?  How about blank lines?

Q5:  There are several unreviewed patches in my inbox.  Do you
recommend I leave them unreviewed until I have gotten copyright
assignment for them?

Q6.  How about if I tell the pending patch contributors, "Please
contact assignments @ gnu.org so you can assign your contributions to
the FSF (this is best) or disclaim copyright to your contributions and
put them in the public domain (if you are unwilling to assign
copyright).  After that, please test your patch, and if it tests OK,
please merge it into Vimpulse on the EmacsWiki."

Please Reply to All.  Thanks in advance,
--Jason Spiro

^  [1].  http://www.emacswiki.org/elisp/vimpulse.el
^  [2].  http://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/viper-in-more-modes.el
^  [3].  http://www.gnu.org/prep/maintain/html_node/Copyright-Papers.html

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