Cross-project collaboration project

Sean Egan seanegan at
Thu Dec 27 15:52:21 EST 2007

On Dec 18, 2007 2:08 PM, Sean Egan <seanegan at> wrote:
> On Dec 18, 2007 1:42 PM, Evan Schoenberg <evan.s at> wrote:
> > To maximize legal protection, I think we should ask that copyright for
> > all protocol documentation and sample code be assigned to imfreedom...
> > But IANAL. Sean, could you ask the lawyers if this is the right
> > practice and, if so, if anything specific is involved in its execution?
> I've already put in the question.

Sorry for the delayed reponse: holidays and all.

I spoke with a lawyer last week. The gist is that we shouldn't worry
too much about this. The chances of anyone trying to sue anyone over
this is pretty slim to begin with. If they *were* to sue someone,
they'd prefer to a faceless corporation over some hobbyist, even
without any formal relationship, or copyright assignment, or anything
like that. So, chances are you probably get de facto liability
protection just from having the corporate structure in place.

If someone's paranoid, we can easily formalize some agreement that
says that the work is being done specifically as part of IM Freedom,
rather than just using IM Freedom's resources. Pidgin developers, for
instance, get this automatically, as contributors to Pidgin are
considered volunteers for IM Freedom. We're willing to provide this
sort of protection (and non-profit status) to other projects that want

Copyright assignment, which we'd previously brought up, turns out to
be mostly irrelevant as far as liability goes; it's only useful to
make it easier to maintain a progeny on the code and make it easier to
enforce license violations.

So, to sum it up, there's really nothing to worry about, but if you
are worried anyway, we can certainly help anyone out.


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