Forum .LRN Q&A: Response to Request for Comment: dotLRN Technology Governance

I haven't make up my mind on all the points addressed in the two documents but I want to address copyright ownership first and the rest of my comments will follow.
Although the views of TAB are not strictly binding on the gatekeepers, TAB will exert a "persuasive" influence.

-- Al Essa

technically, each contributor of code - patches and such - owns the copyright on their individual contribution of code. This is generally made irrelevant by the terms of the GPL. To be precise, what the above paragraph means is that MIT owns the vast majority of the copyright on dotLRN v1.0.

-- Ben Adida

I think this paragraph from Ben's document is very important and as far as I can say it is not adequately addressed in Al's document. My major concern by reading Al's document is the fact that the consortium would encourage transferring the copyright to the consortium or would have the ability to enforce this (Executive Board --> TAB --> Gatekeepers).

In some way, the consortium governance rules, and in particular the rules directly (or *indirectly*) related to the copyright ownership issue, reminds me of the policy ArsDigita used to have that they did not accept external contributions (where aD had no copyright ownership) so that they had full control of the copyright, thus being able to do whatever they wanted with their (the *official*) distribution of the toolkit.

I'm not suggesting that there is any intention on the consortium's behalf on doing exactly what aD did or even further. Rather, I suggest that the governance rules take note of this inherent problem and proactively act to prevent such a case.

Finally, I would appreciate if Al Essa could comment on this one. [Also, Al's document only mentions copyright ownership for applets but AFAICS there is no reference about the copyright of future versions of the "dotLRN-core" and the policy that the consortium might follow on this issue.]

More comments to follow.