[ECOS] APB - Copyright assignment

Edgar Grimberg edgar.grimberg@zylin.com
Tue Oct 6 14:37:00 GMT 2009

On Tue, Oct 6, 2009 at 3:33 PM, Alex Schuilenburg <alexs@ecoscentric.com> wrote:
> Øyvind Harboe wrote on 2009-10-06 10:16:
>> Does anyone know how I could get in touch with Graham Henderson
>> <graham615@yahoo.com>.
>> He wrote the TSE driver for nios2ecos and we either need a copyright
>> assignment, remove the TSE driver, rewrite it or live without the
>> copyright assignment.
>> There is nothing wrong with the eCos license and no copyright
>> assignment, except that if, eventually, nios2ecos is to become
>> part of the official eCos repository then the copyright assignment
>> to FSF is a prerequisite.
> Warning: IANAL.
> Actually, it is not necessarily the case that you can live without the
> copyright assignment, even if it does not become part of the official
> repository.
> One of the strong aspects of eCos is in its licensing and copyright
> assignments.  Users of eCos can rest assured that they will not be
> pulled up on some copyright or patent violation, license fee demand or
> similar. This is mainly because we insist that any major contribution is
> assigned to the FSF.  Imagine having to do a product recall on an
> embedded device using eCos simply because SCO^W some company wants to
> cash in.  It gives us a trace history of the origins of all of the code.
> Of course this is not 100% foolproof because a contributor could
> misrepresent their contribution or unwittingly violate some patent, but
> then they are the ones who will be liable for damages and the regular
> user has a way out.
> So without proper attribution and/or licensing of the code, that portion
> of the code deviates from the type of security users can expect (against
> law suits etc) when using any eCos distribution.  So your options in the
> long term really are: a copyright assignment;  rewrite the TSE driver;
> or remove it.


Actually, this case is a bit special. Graham Henderson modified files
that are under eCos (FSF) copyright. I don't know what the legal
status of the files is now, but they are covered by the GPL (with
exceptions, as defined by eCos).
Of course, the best solution is for me to delete the files that were
touched by Graham Henderson and rewrite them. This just got high on my
priority list.

On the other hand, Graham Henderson or his employer cannot come now
and ask for compensation, since the files were under GPL (with
exceptions) from the very first place. This is a case where the
license of the code is clear, but the copyright assignment is not in
place. There are numerous GPL projects that have the copyright of the
file to the author of the file and the license is GPL. So, no need to
worry, there's no evil company trying to take anybody's product off
the market if that code is used...


> -- Alex Schuilenburg
>       >>>> Visit us at ESC-UK  http://www.embedded.co.uk <<<<
>       >>>> Oct 7-8 on Stand 433 at FIVE ISC, Farnborough <<<<
> --
> Before posting, please read the FAQ: http://ecos.sourceware.org/fom/ecos
> and search the list archive: http://ecos.sourceware.org/ml/ecos-discuss

Edgar Grimberg
System Developer
Zylin AS
ZY1000 JTAG Debugger http://www.zylin.com/zy1000.html
Phone: (+47) 51 63 25 00

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