For any Open-Source project, it is important that the Contributors are clear about the rights they grant to the project. The aim is that the Project should be able to use their contributions (especially source code) with the minimum of restrictions. There is a danger that one group of contributors exert proprietary rights over a small but important part of the project, and then take control of the whole project, and use it for their own advantage.
The attached document is a draft Contributor License Agreement. This is based on the one developed for the SciTools project, but with some differences. In particular, the SciTools one quotes relevant UK law, but that is not appropriate for Climsoft, so I have tried to make it independant of any national legislation. I have borrowed some phrases from the Mozilla Foundation documents for this, especially on dispute resolution.
The SciTools document was drafted with the help of the Met Office legal team. I have not yet done so, but I intend to consult them and also the WMO legal team.
I do not yet have a clear definition of the "Climsoft Project" - can anyone help with some ideas and words?
We will also need to think about the mechanism for registering signature of the documents. We agreed that the Lead Developers would have a responsibility to check that Contributions for inclusion in the core of Climsoft should come from Contributors who have signed the Contributor License Agreement.
Note that this CLA does not prevent commercial or other restricted add-ons which are not part of the core of Climsoft.
Ideas, thoughts, comments and suggestions for different text please!