SPI Workshop/Brainstorming Session at Debconf

David B Harris david at eelf.ddts.net
Sun Jul 20 05:16:22 UTC 2003

On Sat, 19 Jul 2003 22:08:54 -0700 (PDT)
bruce at perens.com (Bruce Perens) wrote:
> From: David B Harris <david at eelf.ddts.net>
> > The nature of these organisations is legal; as such, they can be sued
> > into oblivion, leaving their member-projects out in the cold. Thus, the
> > more the merrier - bad idea to put all the eggs in one basket and
> > whatnot.
> And there is a danger of losing the copyrights that these organizations hold
> to the plaintiff in a successful lawsuit, or if the organization is
> forced to settle.
> However, a legal umbrella for individual developers is becoming increasingly
> desirable, and a 501(c)3 vehicle is possibly even useful for getting our
> developers under the Volunteer Protection Act.
> So, there are a few ways to go. One is to make a lot of little
> corporations, as we did in the movie business. Every film was its own
> corporation, which is why you would see "Silver Screen Partners XXVIII"
> as the producer of a Disney film, and another number next time.
> Probably there are other ways to poison-pill the copyrights we hold so
> that they would be useless to anyone who acquired them through a
> lawsuit.
> This is a matter for investigation with counsel.

Thank sounds great. Thanks.

I don't like the idea of having a 501(c)3 for each developer - not if
it's on my bill anyways :) But protecting the copyrights are good.

However, what I was more worried about in the original email was simply
the organisational difficulties in recovering from the cessation of
business of the "big" copyright holder for FOSS, if such a beast
existed. I don't see many people assigning copyright to SPI. The only
SPI-like organisatoin that I'm aware of that serves as a repository for
copyrighted works is the FSF, and I'm not terribly impressed with how
that has turned out.
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