[llvm-dev] RFC: Improving license & patent issues in the LLVM community

Daniel Berlin via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Wed Oct 21 09:10:40 PDT 2015

> > Again, as stated before, both of these issues are covered by the apache
> license.
> >
> > It has a built-in CLA that explicitly grants both copyright and patent
> > rights from contributors when they make contributions to the work.
> Huh? How can employee X of company Y contributing a patch grant any
> patent rights on behalf of Y?
Agent, actual, or apparent authority.
All valid.

Let's start with: In just about every country in the world, anyone
contributing on behalf of their company are exercising their employers
copyright (in most cases, even if they do it in their "spare time", since
most people misunderstand what the law grants them there).

The license says:

"Licensor" shall mean the copyright owner or entity authorized by the
copyright owner that is granting the License.

It then uses licensor as the granter.

For example:

The copyright owner of work i do for Google is not owned by me, it's owned
Google. Thus, *Google* is the licensor, as defined by the license, even if
i am the one sending the work to llvm.

Both actual (They told me i could contribute), agent (I am also actually
authorized to contribute anyway), and apparent authority (Everyone else in
the community would normally believe i have authority to contribute, and
thus, there is apparent authority, regardless of whether Google said i
could contribute) would all bind Google when i contribute stuff.

Any one of them is sufficient.

Bottom line: If someone contributes to LLVM from a company, apparent
authority is going to bind that company.
This is why companies often try to carefully control who contributes things
to open source.
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