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Re: Why not contribute? (to GCC)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Richard Kenner) writes:
>> That is not unlimited liability. That clause says that if you
>> contribute code which you do not own to the FSF, and the correct owner
>> of the code sues the FSF, and wins the court case, and the FSF is
>> forced to pay damages to the true owner, then you are legally
>> responsible to cover the FSF's costs, both the costs of damages and
>> the cost of litigation.
> Yes, but there is no limit to the "costs of damages and the cost
> of litigation". THAT'S the concern being expressed.
But, as I outlined, there is a limit. This is not patents. This is
copyright. Copyright law does not provide for unlimited damages. I
agree that there is no limit specified in the assignment, but there is
a limit in reality.
>> So, if you screw up badly, there is liability, yes.
> To me, that's the point. This clause only operates if the person
> doing the assignment did something improper. HOWEVER, there IS a
> legitimate issue: suppose an employee develops a patch and submits it
> to the FSF. Unknown to the company, the employee actually stole the code
> from a third party. But it's the COMPANY that's indemnifying the FSF.
> Yes, it can sue its employee and get a judgement in the amount it has to
> pay the FSF, but most likely the employee couldn't pay such a judgement.
> So you do have a situation here where the company is being forced to
> trust its employee.
I would not argue that people should not try to talk the FSF out of
this position. On the other hand, many companies have apparently had
no trouble signing this.