Mon 10 Sep 2012 1:42PM

The CLA, did everybody sign it and is it still appropriate

JH Jonne Haß Public Seen by 69

Jonne Haß Mon 10 Sep 2012 1:42PM

So what does community governance mean?

The founders seem not to be willing to do any large contributions to Diaspora anymore, so the community shall decide, the community shall do, the founders will own. That isn't exactly my definition of fair.

I've no problem with a BSD style license, but donating my work to others without them doing anything for it, is… hardly acceptable.

So we rule this project now, shouldn't all new contributions be still owned by us, or some sort of non-profit foundation/organization/whatever applies best at least?


groovehunter Mon 10 Sep 2012 2:25PM

Could you provide a link, where's that stated pls?


groovehunter Mon 10 Sep 2012 4:53PM

Let's rewrite - !


Jeremy Huffman Mon 10 Sep 2012 4:54PM

If you read this you should see it is not an assignment of copyright, but a grant of an AGPL/MIT license to contributed code. D Inc doesn't "own" the contribution.


Jonne Haß Mon 10 Sep 2012 5:22PM

While they contract them self to publish your contribution under AGPL/MIT/CC they still own the copyright (well, here in Germany you can't get rid of your own copyright but that's another story). Quote "Diaspora is copyright Diaspora Inc., 2010, and files herein are licensed
under the Affero General Public License version 3" https://github.com/diaspora/diaspora/blob/master/COPYRIGHT and "# Copyright (c) 2010-2012, Diaspora Inc. " as the first bytes in almost every file.


groovehunter Mon 10 Sep 2012 5:43PM

Change in license (nondual?) might be voted lateron, but what about a substitution of Diaspora Inc with diaspora foundation?


Florian Staudacher Mon 10 Sep 2012 6:25PM

I think these are some of the basic ideas (in general, not necessarily from the CLA):

"all code released in context of the Diaspora project is published under the AGLP license"
"parts of the code may be re-published under the MIT license if deemed necessary or useful"
"copyright remains with the respective authors" (more or less EU copyright law*)
"by submitting code the author grants an unrestricted right of usage to the Diaspora project"


  • in the EU I may agree to a contract signing away my copyright, but that still doesn't make it so. I simply cannot hand over the authorship of something and with that I retain all associated rights. I may only grant an unrestricted usage right to some other entity. (at least that's what I remember from my "Daten-&Informatikrecht" course at university)

Jeremy Huffman Mon 10 Sep 2012 6:59PM

There is no language in the CLA that attempts or implies reassignment of copyright. Copyright notice doesn't change it.


adri xador Mon 10 Sep 2012 7:19PM

I don't undertand much about licences but from what i am reading here i understand this: Hy world i have this car, Pegeot 206 i give you the right to tune it so call me when it's done, i am going on vacacions un Europe, when i get back i what may car to be a ferrari. If it's like this please people, you learned allot this 2 years about how a social red shoul work so make a realy open source social red. This guys don't give a damn about Diaspora they made the other project (who was donating for Makro.io? is there posible that they did that whit money from Diaspora? )
So let's say that in 2 month there will be 200 or 500 coders working on Diaspora and in 6 months Diaspora has the best fedration protocol or what ever but when you start to work on apps so users can realy use diaspora like a social red Google or .......... calls the founders , then the founder decide that you guys did enough and they will do the rest now, and wee have to whait 2 more year for the chat code then 2 more for calendar and 2 more.....
Wee need Diaspora to be freeeeeeeeeeeeeee.


groovehunter Mon 10 Sep 2012 8:41PM

Diaspora Inc has - as final act of handing over the project to the community - to publish a recall of that CLA, remove it from the complete source and put a new FOSS license we agree on.
It is simply a question of honor and self-evident.

The fundament - for further community-made decisions within the processes we define - I want it to be clear.


Brent Bartlett Tue 11 Sep 2012 4:50AM

I think that the Diaspora Foundation (or whatever) would need to be formed before this could be resolved? (I Am Not A Lawyer, however.)


Jason Robinson Tue 11 Sep 2012 8:39AM

Founding a proper legal foundation is serious stuff - I'd say we need to get things really going first :) Let's not get tied down in nitty bitty legal stuff.


Jason Robinson Tue 11 Sep 2012 8:39AM

(not saying the CLA is good as it is)


groovehunter Tue 11 Sep 2012 8:47AM

So there is no such NGO called Diaspora Foundation yet? (somehow I thought it would exist). The website redirects to the project site / JD blog so I assume it does not?!


groovehunter Tue 11 Sep 2012 8:52AM

If there are some people who like to do it, that would be great. But not to overemphasize it in the sense as Jason said is a good idea.

Im my town we are these days also in the process of founding a NGO.


Lennart Prelle Tue 11 Sep 2012 10:06AM

without changing cla, there will no future be, like adri described


altruism Tue 11 Sep 2012 10:17AM

I am not sure if there is any organization with the name Diaspora Foundation, but it is not very probable. Why should it be both a Diaspora Inc. and a Diaspora Foundation?
As I understand it Diaspora Inc. has to legally be transformed from a company to a foundation. Or "die" (excuse me for using such a dramatic word) and rise again as the Diaspora Foundation. Let’s not forget that Diaspora is also a trademark. I do not see the community resolving this without direct involvement from the owners of Diaspora Inc.


Jason Robinson Tue 11 Sep 2012 1:59PM

Altruism, no, Diaspora, Inc is a company owned by people. It is totally separate and what those guys do there is not up to anyone else (any more after the open governance transition plans). Why would they need close shop for a foundation to be set up? :)


altruism Tue 11 Sep 2012 3:46PM

Diaspora is a trademark of Diaspora Inc (correct me if I am wrong). In the case they have no problem with another organization using the Diaspora brand I guess that would be an alternative. Is that a good idea both a company and a foundation with the same name?


groovehunter Tue 11 Sep 2012 7:31PM

Yep the foundation has to be registered by a few people and then should Diaspora Inc transfer the trademark and remove the CLA. They have to do the legal steps.
@Sean can you report their opinion!? And I am interested if they at all want to be foundation members which would be great of course.


Sean Tilley Tue 11 Sep 2012 8:53PM

Is the CLA even really necessary at this point? If not, I can talk to Max about dissolving it.


Steven Hancock Wed 12 Sep 2012 4:56AM

I don't have a problem with the CLA. After reading it again to make sure I wasn't missing anything, I don't see anything that assigns copyright to Diaspora, Inc. In fact, by signing the CLA you're giving Diaspora, Inc. a more limited license to your contributions than you're giving the rest of the world since they specifically can't use the MIT license to make this a close-source project and they also can't make any special commercial dual-licensing deals with anyone (which they could, if they owned the copyright to 100% of the code).


tortoise Wed 12 Sep 2012 8:17AM

Uh.. gee, what about this?

--> The purpose of the agreement is to give us the rights we need to steward development of the Diaspora™ Software effectively, while providing you assurances that we will use your contributions in the interests of the community of Diaspora™ Software developers.

What about the USERS? What about the PODMINS?

Anyone care to clarify this for me?

It's a little confusing to me.

Is it possible to use the software in keeping with "the interests of the community of Diaspora™ Software developers" but not in keeping with the interests of the users?

Just asking...


Jeremy Huffman Wed 12 Sep 2012 9:21PM

This agreement only applies to developers submitting code. It guarantees that such contributions can be released under MIT license. Without this we wouldn't be able to give back to the Ruby community in a license compatible with most other Ruby libraries.

It is not a charter or end-user license agreement.


tortoise Wed 12 Sep 2012 9:54PM

@ Jeremy, I understand that it's about the developers, believe me! :)

The questions I'm asking I know show I am wading in over my head. But I don't have an issue about it. Please forgive my my ignorance, but also know that in discussing this, we are laying down text that other people who come behind us may want to understand but do not know who to ask, or when to ask.

So the question is what happens if D-devs use your code in a way that is OK with you, but it's not OK with the end users or the podmins?

For example, and I'm agnostic on this so I don't have an agenda, back in December (was it?) there was a decision to move from jQuery to backbone. It may have been the right move, but from what I understand, there was no discussion even with the community devs about it, much less with podmins, and it ended up causing a huge hassle down the line.

I imagine that what D devs did was within their purview of the CLA, but it upset a lot of people. At least I think I witnessed that.

How do we know that something like this won't happen again? Of course we all want the best for the project, but if this new direction is to be more open than let it be more open.

I should actually restate the above question to say, how can we prevent that form happening again? A lot of trust was spent from that happening and a lot of anguish caused.

I'd really like to see Diaspora to be a non-zerosum game. That's all.