Frequently Asked Questions about CNRI's legal policy regarding contributions to Python If you have a question that isn't answered here, please write <firstname.lastname@example.org> Q. What are the legal requirements for contributions to Python? CNRI's lawyers recommend that we collect legal agreements for all new contributions. For small contributions, a simple two-paragraph note in the email containing the contribution suffices (see bugrelease.txt). For more substantial contribution, we require a mailed signed copy of a simple form (see wetsign.txt). We have tried to make the legal language as simple as possible. Q. Why does CNRI require this? In order to make it possible to protect Python against potential infringements. Other organizations that distribute free software do the similar things; for example, the GNU project requires a much more strongly worded form, assigning all copyrights to the Free Software Foundation, for all contributions to GNU software. Q. When is a contribution small enough to require only an email note? This is determined by us on a per-contribution basis. Up to 20 lines of patches typically qualify as small; however if you manage to do something truly spectacular in 20 lines or less we may ask you to send in the signature form anyway. Q. I have contributed to Python in the past. Should I sign and mail in a form now? Yes, please. We are in the process of getting wet signatures for all major contributions to Python up to now. If you contributed a module or more, we'll try to get in touch with you; you can save us the effort and mail us the signed form right away! Q. Do I have to accurately list everything I contributed? No. If you made multiple contributions in the past, it is sufficient to write in the form under "description" something like "everything I've contributed until <date>." If you continue to make significant contributions in the future, you can send us an update form using a similar formulation every once in a while. Q. Can I send in a form to cover all my future contributions? No. However it's okay if you send in a form, say, once a year, covering all your contributions from the last time you sent one in until the date you sign the new form. Q. Does the form protect me against copyright or patent infringement suits? If you infringe somebody's rights, no form in the world that you sign can protect you. The form only protects CNRI, because the act of collecting the forms shows that CNRI is doing "due diligence" regarding asserting the origin of contributions. Q. Does the form protect me against claims from damage resulting from use of my contribution? We have reluctantly added a paragraph wherein you disclaim all warranties etc. You may see this as some form of protection. However the law regarding such disclaimers is complicated and varies widely between states and countries, and the particular disclaimer used on the form may not cover you in all cases. Q. Does the form transfer my copyrights to CNRI? No. CNRI only gets certain non-exclusive rights. See the form for the exact list of rights. Q. If I don't sign, will my past contributions be removed from Python? That is up to CNRI's lawyers to decide.