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Re: Why not contribute? (to GCC)
> Perhaps someone made a mistake, and it could be me (because I don't
> understand lawyer language). Apparently, the sensitive sentence in the
> document is something like "Developer will indemnify FSF for all losses
> if the claim is not spurious".
> In my remembering, the "all losses" was interpreted by someone as
> unlimited liability ... Lawyers are usually scared by the "all losses"
> phrase. I remember someone was very angry, but I forgot the details.
Although that's true from a technical point of view, from a practical
perspective, the liability will only be an issue if the company
misrepresented what it assigned.
There is somewhat of a difference (as I understand it) between French
and US law here, but this is ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED to protect the FSF
from improper behavior of the company doing the assignment.
Let's say the FSF agreed to limit the liability to, say, $100k in an
assignment from Company A. Now suppose that Company A conspires with
Company B and takes some of Company B's code and submits it to the FSF
with an assignment with the $100k limit. It warrants that it has the
rights to this code, but has limited itself to a $100k liability if
that's not the case. Now Company B "discovers" that GCC contains some
copyrighted code that belongs to it and sues the FSF for $1m. The FSF
gets $100k from Company A, but now has to pay $900k to Company B (who
had agreeded to pay 1/3 to Company A, which now makes $200k on the deal).
Anybody who agrees to take code without any such protection is not
> And I never understood why GCC is convered by US laws only.
A contract between two parties (such as an assignment) has to be governed
by ONE law. If the two parties are in different US states (or different
countries), they each have a difference preference to which law will
apply and they need to agree on which law will be used. Normally,
the entity that drafts the agreement will specify their law. So the FSF
will naturally request the law of the state and country they're in.
> However, I would believe that most GCC contributors do not actively
> check their patch against the US patent system (because I perceive the
> US patent system to be very ill w.r.t. software). I confess I don't do
> that - it would be a full time & boring job.
Software patents are indeed a serious problem, which is why the FSF
is so strongly against them.