Today @conservancy announces a new initiative to accept copyright assignment from ANYONE producing copyleft software.

This is an important tool that will help us continue our work representing and protecting copylefted projects.

Receiving copyright assignments from developers working on key aspects of FOSS means we have another important tool for enforcement of the GPL and other copyleft licenses.

@conservancy Explain how assigning copyright to you makes paying the same lawyers to pursue the same litigation any more effective?

@jens In our experience, very few developers want to personally be Plaintiffs in litigation. In 15 years of doing this, we know of only three who were willing: Erik Andersen, Christoph Hellwig, and of course Harald Welte. If copyright is assigned, individual developers need not personally be Plaintiffs.

We think it's wonderful when developers want to do this for the good of the community, but it's lots of extra work, and usually devs want to just write more software, not deal with lawsuit day-to-day.

@conservancy That's fair, I suppose, but you're framing it as necessary when it's not.

You could probably solve it through POA as well, right?

@jens we aren't a law firm, and this isn't legal advice, but our understanding is: all the other methods have annoying pitfalls for litigation in the USA. Jurisdictions outside the USA differ, but we're currently focused on enforcement in North America.

We are sure, after years of talking with many attorneys, that the preferred to bring copyright-based GPL enforcement litigation in the USA is to have copyright assignment.

We'll see if one of our attorneys has time to write a guest blog post about this.

@conservancy Cool, thanks! I'm also not a lawyer, of course. It just seems very extreme to give up effective control over something to ensure anything about its use.

But it may well come down to differences in legal systems.

What us the difference of assigning the Copyright to @conservancy instead of assigning it to @fsf?

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