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Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2016 19:20:52 -0700
From: Christopher Lane <>
Cc:, Petr Hosek <>
Subject: Re: musl licensing

On Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 6:26 PM, Alexander Cherepanov <>

> On 2016-03-17 01:50, Petr Hosek wrote:
>> On Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 9:32 AM Alexander Cherepanov <
>> wrote:
>> Yeah, this is a crucial question IMHO. There was a similar discussion
>>> about LLVM licensing recently:
>>>   From this thread I gathered that:
>>> 1) Google is quite serious about CLAs;
>>> 2) Google has ideas about copyright/licensing/etc which contradict
>>> beliefs held widely in the community;
>>> 3) Google is not inclined to explain the situation to the community,
>>> judging by
>>> Given its past legal troubles, Google has enough stimuli to study the
>>> topic very carefully and it could be right. But could be wrong as well.
>>> Anyway, I don't think that just saying that CLAs are required is going
>>> to change the opinion of the community.
>> To clarify the CLA bit, we're not asking musl authors to sign the Google
>> CLA. Instead, what we proposed was coming up with a CLA specifically for
>> musl.
> I didn't mean to imply Google CLA. Sorry if it sounded that way.
> Since someone, in this case most likely Rich as the project
>> maintainer, has to re-license the files which are currently in public
>> domain, one way is to have the past contributors sign a "musl project" CLA
>> as a way to keep a track of the legal permission to use and distribute
>> these files. However, this is a decision of the musl community and how you
>> do the re-licensing is up to you, as long as you have the permission to
>> re-license the files in question.
> Thanks for the clarification. Do I understand correctly that you would
> prefer if musl project used musl CLA but this is not a hard requirement for
> you?

Requiring a CLA is, I believe, the clearest way of preserving the musl
project's ability to license and relicense the contributions however they
see fit.  IANAL, but I don't think it's the only option here.

I think that if code was contributed to the musl project under one license,
the musl project needs to get permission from the original contributor
before they release it under a different license, unless the original
license already grants that permission.  In the case where code was
contributed as public domain, and it is successfully argued that public
domain isn't valid, that code is essentially unlicensed (thus no permission
was given at contribution time to relicense it).

> --
> Alexander Cherepanov

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