[thelist] Copyright ownership under LGPL

David Bindel dbindel at austin.rr.com
Mon Jun 14 19:34:37 CDT 2004

On Mon, 2004-06-14 at 00:16, David Bindel wrote:
> My client has also requested that he own the copyrights to everything I
> make for him; realizing that it would be impractical and unethical for
> me to sell my copyright to my open source software, I told him that that
> would be impossible as the LGPL does not allow me to sell the copyright
> and still distribute the software as Free and Open Source Software
> (since it is no longer mine).  He did not accept those terms easily.
> The software I am making for him would be a heavily-modified offspring
> of my open source software, yet nevertheless, largely based on the
> original open source software.

Keep in mind that this is not even a business website; it is being made
as a small website for his friends and family to use.

He has already designed the website himself; my job only concerns
writing a PHP backend to for user management, geneology, basic blog
features, and picture/quote of the day.

The client has decisively made up his mind, and here is the situation as
it stands as of 5 minutes ago (these are our actual words from an IM

-- Begin Transcript --

Client: I have decided not to have you do any coding that will be part 
	of any copyright situation.

	I don't want to use any code that you have already written for 
	your other products.  That avoids any copyright problems.  I 
	want my site to be totally owned by me.

	Also, if I pay you to write code, then you use that code on 
	other customers, I feel that I am subsidizing their site.  So to 	avoid
that, I just won't use your code from any of your products 	that you
have written.

	I really want to have all legal ownership to all aspects to my 
	site. That is very important to me.

Me:	May I ask why?

Client:	Because I don't want to end up in a legal situation down the 
	road that is unforseen now.  Plus, I don't really want to have 
	others using products that I paid to have created.

	The reason for this is I don't want to end up with other sites 
	similar to mine. I want my site to be one of a kind.

Me:	But millions of websites have the same things you want on your 
	site! (weblog, quote of the day, daily photo, etc.)

Client:	I was talking about the internal code, not the look and feel and

-- End Transcript --

I have no idea why he is so concerned about owning copyrights to
everything, especially derivative works of LGPL'ed software.

I have already told him that I have no problem assigning him the rights
to use, display, modify, extend, and even sell the software himself in
the contract.

Is this client worth keeping?

Thanks in advance for your advice,
David Bindel


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