This page is now obsolete and preserved for archival purposes only. Please refer to the assignments page for current information concerning the eCos copyright assignments process.
Assigning copyrightRevision 1.0
Any patch greater than a few lines (around 10 as a general rule) needs to be accompanied by an assignment of copyright to eCosCentric Limited. This is a temporary arrangement while discussions with the Free Software Foundation are still ongoing concerning the adoption of eCos as an FSF project.
The rationale behind this assignment is to avoid any possible confusion over the legal ownership of eCos, and to ensure that the contributor's employer assents to the work being contributed. It also allows the the copyright to be vested centrally so that eCos's license may be enforced - something which only copyright holders may do. If there are multiple authors of a copyrighted work, successful enforcement depends on having the cooperation of all authors.
Generally two documents are required to be posted to eCosCentric. One is the copyright assignment itself, and the other is a disclaimer of any work-for-hire ownership claims by the contributor's employer - many employment contracts include clauses that automatically assign all work by employees to the employer.
The maintainers will let you know if they think an assignment is necessary. If it is, then go to the eCos assignments page and follow the instructions there. Once you have one assignment, you are covered for all future patches, so you only need to do this once.
If an assignment is needed it is best to get the process moving as soon as possible; eCosCentric may take a while to receive and process it. It is probably best to send the assignment forms off as soon as you know what new or changed files the patch incorporates. The maintainers will be notified independently when the assignment has been processed. Patches will not be applied to the development repository until eCosCentric confirms the assignment.
If your employer does not consent to the disclaimer, or you do not hold copyright for all the contributed code, then a copyright assignment is not possible. In that case, provided the license for the code permits redistribution (which may also required your employer's consent if they are the copyright holder), it may be possible to place the contribution on the contributions page.
It may also be possible to include patches containing third party code from certain established trusted sources and covered by certain more liberal licenses, such as the BSD license. In such cases, please ask the maintainers for advice as it may still be possible to include the code. Alternatively the third party may be willing to make a copyright assignment.
While fully GPL'd code is welcome to be placed on the contributions page, unfortunately it cannot be included in the main eCos source base at this time to avoid the inadvertent use of fully GPL'd code with eCos, i.e. not subject to the usual eCos license exception clause. This is something that we hope to rectify at a later date when tools are available to control the license of eCos packages.