GeoTools : Proposal to assign our copyright to OSGeo

We propose to reach consensus on the following points:

  1. To pick OSGeo as the organization to hold copyright in geotools.
  2. To use the copyright assignment document recently approved by OSGeo and available in here.
  3. To ourselves fill out and sign the document and send it to the address listed in the document.
  4. To write a letter encouraging all past contributors to sign this document.
  5. To discuss if we wish, in future, to require contributors to assign copyright or if we can let contributors choose as long as they fully document their work. Such contributions will limit our ability to relicense all the files added or modified by contributors who have not signed an assignment agreement.

Note that this reaches beyond the PMC so the proposal is not for a vote of the PMC but for a consensus of all interested contributors.


We need a single organization to hold the copyright for the bulk of the Geotools work. Such a copyright assignment would simultanously server several functions.

  • The assignment would let the organization partially shield contributors from lawsuit by ensuring that third party licensees of the code are licensees of the foundation rather than of the contributor.
  • The assignment would allow the organization to have legal standing to argue and resolve legal issues regarding licensing violations.
  • The assignment would also simplify the copyright situation for all code licensees. The code files, for example, could have a considerably reduced list of copyright holders.


This proposal will be raised during the weekly IRC meeting of Monday, January 21, 2008.


During the weekly IRC meeting 21 Jan. 2008 the members present were asked for their opinon which they could indicate with:

  • +1 is "I'm willing to assign my copyright to OSGeo"
  • 0 is "I don't care"
  • -1 is "no way josé"

The participants indicated their preferences as follows:

  • aaime: +1
  • acuster: +1
  • desruisseaux: +1
  • jdeolive: +1
  • jgarnett: +1
  • Jesse_Eichar: +0
  • groldan: +1

It was therefore decided to proceed with this plan.

  1. We will each sign a copy of the assignment document and send it in to OSGeo.
  2. Jody Garnett will write up a letter inviting all the commiters to join us in this copyright assignment.
  3. We will then move to clean up the provenance of the code.