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

Daniel Berlin via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Mon Oct 26 08:11:51 PDT 2015

On Sat, Oct 24, 2015 at 9:21 AM, Joerg Sonnenberger via llvm-dev <
llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:

> On Fri, Oct 23, 2015 at 08:11:11AM -0700, Daniel Berlin wrote:
> > On Thu, Oct 22, 2015 at 9:54 PM, Joerg Sonnenberger via llvm-dev <
> > llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:
> >
> > > On Wed, Oct 21, 2015 at 09:10:40AM -0700, Daniel Berlin wrote:
> > > > 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).
> > >
> > > At least under German law, there is a clear separation between what I
> do
> > > during work time and outside. Ignoring questions like anti competition
> > > issues, my employer has no claims to what I do outside work time.
> >
> > Again, this is a common misconception, or so multiple german employment
> > lawyers have told me.
> You aren't even given a justification for that position, which makes it
> kind of difficult to have any reasonable form of discussion. Let me
> still clarify exactly what I mean and why this is relevant for the
> discussion.

This is precisely because i'm *not* trying to have a discussion about
this.  Particularly on this mailing list.
You seem to badly want to have a discussion about this.

I've stated what numerous actual employment and IP lawyers who practice in
germany have told me (multiple times, now, and in the past).
You want to argue that it's wrong. Fine. I honestly don't care. But you
should not expect me to take your opinion over theirs, even if you argue
vociferously, because they are the folks who have tried to do these things
in practice.  I don't even have the same lawyers as the foundation, etc,
and i'm sure they've vetted these issue as well.  So i'm going to say:
believe what you like.   But i don't think it's reasonable to expect others
 to take the legal advice of random people on mailing lists over a
multitude of their lawyers, or to try to address legal problems you think
you see but lawyers tell them "this is not a problem".
Maybe you differ here as well.

Let me also point out you see to think your argument is one of "hey we
should go with the CLA option or something else that binds individuals".

However, that's not really what you are arguing in practice.
What you are arguing in practice is really "It's super-dangerous to allow
germans to contribute to your open source project".
Most open source projects have neither licenses like Apache, nor CLA's.
Your argument is essentially "I believe these open source projects get
nothing from employers, etc".

If that turns out to be correct, and a court was to find that in germany,
the result is highly unlikely to be "the open source world realizes what a
horrible mistake it has made and starts to use sane licensing and
contributor agreements that cover german law better".

Instead, the likely result would be "most open source projects would ban
germans from contributing".
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