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eCos Copyright Assignment

Copyright ownership

With the exception of a small number of imported packages, all copyright in the eCos public source repository is owned by the Free Software Foundation (FSF). When the eCos maintainers indicate that a copyright assignment is required for a contribution to eCos, the assignment should be made directly to the FSF. This page describes the copyright assignment procedure and details the position of eCos contributors who have previously made a copyright assignment to another organisation.

Assignment procedure

To initiate a copyright assignment, please fill in an assignment request form and send it to On receipt of your request, the FSF will prepare a legal copyright assignment document and send it to you via regular post. You will be asked to sign the document and return it to the FSF. On receipt of the signed document from you, the FSF will add their own signature, indicating acceptance of the copyright transfer. Finally, the FSF will e-mail you a copy of the executed document in PDF format.

In cases where your employer, or an academic institution where you study, might have a basis to claim copyright ownership on your contribution, you are required to indicate this when you request an assignment form. This applies to most eCos contributors. The FSF will then request a disclaimer from your company or academic institution.

Note that the eCos maintainers should be advised of all eCos-related copyright assignments by the FSF directly, but this communication can sometimes be delayed or lost. For this reason, please notify the eCos maintainers when you receive confirmation from the FSF that your copyright assignment has been executed.

Copyright in older contributions

Historically, contributors to eCos were required to assign copyright to Red Hat. In January 2004, Red Hat announced that it would transfer ownership of its copyright in eCos to the FSF. However, arrangements for this copyright transfer took a considerable time to complete. In the meantime, the FSF was unable to accept eCos copyright assignments and the assignment of copyright in eCos contributions to Red Hat was subject to considerable delay. In order to allow eCos contributions to be made in a timely manner, eCosCentric offered to act as a temporary copyright owner for new contributions on the understanding that copyright ownership would be transferred to the FSF in due course. The FSF is now accepting eCos copyright assignments directly and the copyright in all eCos contributions which was previously assigned to Red Hat or to eCosCentric has now been re-assigned to the FSF.

eCos contributors who have previously assigned copyright in their contributions to Red Hat must complete a new copyright assignment to the FSF before making any further contributions to the eCos project. The eCos maintainers will no longer accept contributions from such contributors until the new copyright assignment is in place.

eCos contributors who have previously assigned copyright in their contributions to eCosCentric are not required to complete a new copyright assignment form. The copyright in any future contributions from such contributors will be assigned to the FSF indirectly via eCosCentric. However, the eCos maintainers would encourage such contributors to action a new copyright assignment with the FSF directly to ensure that the original author of a contribution can be traced as quickly and efficiently as possible in the event of a dispute.