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One-click copyright assignments?

From: Clément Pit-Claudel
Subject: One-click copyright assignments?
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2017 07:08:53 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:45.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/45.7.0

Hey emacs-devel,

Why is the copyright assignment process for GNU software more complex than 
other similar ones ?  I've contributed to various pieces of free software in 
the past, and in most cases (except for Apache) the assignment process was 
little more than a click of a button, possibly followed by an email.  For 
Emacs, on the other hand, one needs to send an email to emacs-devel to get an 
off-list copy of a text-based form, then send the completed form to 
address@hidden, then wait for a PDF (which mentions a monetary transaction of 
$1 that never actually happens), then electronically sign the form using PGP 
(possibly with an entirely new PGP key), then email it back and wait for 

Is there anything specific to Emacs that requires the process to be this 
complicated?  For example, could the entire process not be automated?  Ideally 
new contributors would fill a web form on gnu.org/emacs, sign with their mouse 
at the bottom of that form, and confirm their email adress by clicking a link 
in an email.

The existing process could remain in place for e.g. company-wide assignments, 
but for the common case of applying a patch to an ELPA package, wouldn't this 
make things much nicer?  If this can't be done, then could we at least automate 
the part that generates the PDF form, and the part that checks the signature, 
so as to eliminate the copyright assignment delay?


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