Licensing and copyright

I had brought this up on desktop-devel, but was instructed that this
would be a better forum for this discussion.

I recently tried to find information on GNOME policies and guidelines
for licensing and copyright assignment, and was unable to find it.

The FSF has some general guidelines on prudent measures for handling
copyright for GPL projects, but GNOME does not seem to follow these
guidelines.  For example, the FSF recommends for many GNU projects that
contributors assign their copyrights to the FSF to make enforcement of
the GPL easier.

I think that it would be a good idea for a developer HOWTO on properly
documenting and licensing contributions to GNOME projects in such as way
that the GPL sticks and so that GPL enforcement is made as easy as

For example, under what circumstances should a contributor add a
copyright string for themselves to the top of a source file?  Under what
circumstances should a contributor formally assign copyright to the FSF,
the GNOME foundation, or other body, if ever?  What is the proper
procedure for adding new source files to a project in such as way that
the new files are covered under the GPL and considered part of the
project under the definitions set forth in the GPL?  What is the correct
way to start a new project (GPL or otherwise) based on the GNOME
developer platform so that GPL-related licensing issues do not arise?

These are all potentially tricky questions and I think that some
documentation would be very helpful for many developers.  I am not a
lawyer, and not an expert on such matters (though perhaps I know more
than most), but I would be willing to help coordinate such an effort.


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