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copyright and incorporating code from mailing list posts

From: jmg3000
Subject: copyright and incorporating code from mailing list posts
Date: 24 Aug 2006 11:15:32 -0700
User-agent: G2/0.2

If you're running a free software project, and a contributor posts a
few lines of code, or a patch, to the public mailing list (implicitly
expecting you to feel free to incorporate the posted code into the
project), it would seem reasonable for a project copyright holder (one
who's doing the commit) to simply splice the code into the project code
without modifying any copyright notices.

I assume that all committers on a given project put their names in the
license header of the files that they modify.

What's the policy on this for GNU projects? A large number of folks
must post patches, suggestions, bug fixes, and misc lines of code to
the ML's all the time, right?

Seems to me that, in the final analysis, the point is to protect your
project from someone coming forward saying, "Hey, you're using my
copyrighted code in your project without my express permission!" and
the headaches that might follow from dealing with such an individual.
I'd guess that happening is unlikely considering the person posted it
to the ML in the first place.

Any official GNU docs or position on this subject?


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