Can I copy the Discourse CLA for my own project?


(Александр Шишенко) #1

I have my very own GitHub project under the terms of General Public License version 3. I am willing to post it in App Store (Google Play, …) later, and I am concerned about the “GPL Trap”, that could prevent doing that.
By “GPL Trap” I mean the situation with VLC and App Store.

I am not a lawyer by myself, but a software developer. Am I allowed to use your CLA as a base for mine?


(Mittineague) #2

Hi GamePad64 welcome to the forum

This is two different questions.

The CLA documents that a contributor agrees to let Discourse use their code.

The GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE is what makes Discourse open source.

AFAIK there would be no issue with your using the Discourse CLA as a base for yours.

I take it your main concern is the conflict between GPL and the app store’s DRM policy.

IANAL (talk to one) but my take is that if your code is using any Discourse code, the GPL will apply and you could have problems. If on the other hand your code is entirely your own you can license it as you see fit.


(Александр Шишенко) #3

No, it doesn’t use the Discourse code and not connected to it in any way. It is a completely independent project, written in C++ and licensed under GPLv3.
I just found Discourse CLA to be well-written, so I want to apply its terms to contributors of my project. So, I am asking, if the the CLA text itself is copyrighted in some way (I didn’t see the copyright notice on its page, so…).


(Mittineague) #4

It is my understanding that content does not need a copyright notice for it to have copyright.

The CLA is not part of the Discourse repository so I don’t think the GPL applies to it.

I guess the best thing to do legal-wise is to get written permission to use it from a member of the @team


(KajMagnus) #5

@GamePad64

I think you can use Ghost’s CLA: Ghost/CONTRIBUTING.md at master · TryGhost/Ghost · GitHub
it is similar to Discource’s CLA, but shorter (Discourse’s CLA has a dedicated section about patents, and also a section that promises that the code will remain open source). Ghost’s CLA mentions MIT though but you can just change to GPL I suppose.

Apparently Ghost’s CLA is licensed under MIT, because in the same repo, in the readme: Ghost/README.md at master · TryGhost/Ghost · GitHub “Copyright © 2013-2016 Ghost Foundation - Released under the MIT license.” — which means the CLA is licensed under MIT, right? since it’s in the same repo.

Actually Discourse’s CLA and Ghost’s CLA are almost completely word-by-word identical (except for Discourse’s CLA having some additional sections). Perhaps Discourse based their CLA on Ghost’s CLA? — since Ghost’s CLA is aparently licensed under MIT. Or perhaps both Discourse and Ghost hired the same lawyers (which doesn’t seem unlikely to me). [Edit: See Sam’s comment below about jQuery (not Ghost)]


(Sam Saffron) #6

afaik we based our CLA off the jQuery CLA at the time