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Re: Fwd: Hiring a programmer

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: Fwd: Hiring a programmer
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2015 11:33:12 +0900

... and how to deal with the paperwork of assigning to the FSF.

Zack Piper writes:

 > Probably the programmer keeping their copyright.

I think not; that means that the contributor (employer) has to get the
programmer to sign the papers, and probably the contributor has to
sign a disclaimer of interest in the copyright, too.

IMHO (IANAL, David's advice to ask the FSF copyright clerk is best)
the simplest way is a contract which states that upon payment
copyright transfers to the employer.  Then he can assign to the FSF

One thing to ask the clerk is about the "automatic licenseback"
clause.  In the FSF assignment, AIUI you will get an automatic license
to use your original code any way you like, including in proprietary
products.  If you want to be mathematically fair to the programmer,
you should give a similar license.  *However*, this is in practice
very complicated because the parts of the code that are "original ==
can be disentangled from Emacs" are likely to be small, disconnected,
and hardly useful, let alone profitable in a proprietary product.  The
*simplest* thing to do is ignore the license grant you get from the
FSF and don't mention it to the programmer.

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