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Re: [ESPResSo-devel] New GitHub Terms of Service

From: Florian Weik
Subject: Re: [ESPResSo-devel] New GitHub Terms of Service
Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2017 09:13:13 +0000

Hi all,
Welcome to the cloud. Just to ad my 2 cents: I think at least technically Ulf is correct. This makes it impossible to put code that you don't have the copyright for (as opposed to have been granted a licences to use it) to github. This is especially ill-fitting for jurisdictions like Germany where copyright can not be transferred. This is not so much a problem for ongoing development on github (the users have to agree to githubs ToS to get any code in, so that they automatically grant github the required licence) but impossible to fulfill for legacy code. We would have to contact all authors and ask for permission to use their code on github, which we obviously will not do. The analysis in the SO thread that Kai posted seems to come to a similar conclusion. One can only speculate what their rational behind this is (I think use in search and so on would have been fair use...), but I don't think we should go with this. Since we are running a gitlab instance in Stuttgart anyway, one way would be to continue development there, which would avoid such problems also in the future. A downside might be that tool integration is not as good, e.g. for travis, but I'm not sure about that. Alternatively we could just wait, assuming that this particular problem was overlooked and github will change its ToS. After all this affects all open source projects that do not have a contributors agreement that transfers all rights, including e.g. the Kernel.


On Mon, Mar 6, 2017 at 9:47 AM Kai Szuttor <address@hidden> wrote:
Maybe we should watch this SO discussion:

The current opinion seems to be that the new ToS grants gihub that you
have the rights for the content to give github the rights to use your
content without displaying your license.


On Fri, Mar 03, 2017 at 06:09:18PM -0500, Ulf Schiller wrote:
> I had a chance to discuss with our IP officer, and here's my current
> understanding.
> Section D.4 of the GitHub terms state: "If you set your pages and
> repositories to be viewed publicly, you grant each User of GitHub a
> nonexclusive, worldwide license to access your Content through the GitHub
> Service, and to use, display and perform your Content, and to reproduce your
> Content solely on GitHub as permitted through GitHub's functionality. You
> may grant further rights if you adopt a license."
> It is important to note that, e.g., the GPL does not simply grant rights, it
> grants rights under certain provisions. The above phrasing does not
> explicitly state that the rights granted each User of GitHub are subject to
> the terms of the license adopted, if so chosen, thus potentially creating a
> loophole for other users to strip off the adopted license. This is exactly
> what the Copyleft of, e.g., the GPL seeks to prevent (cf. Section 4 of the
> GPL). The problem here is that one effectively grants two licenses which may
> have incompatible provisions. Given that many people have contributed to
> ESPResSo under the terms of the GPL and may thus still own copyright for
> their contributions, it may be legally problematic to convey the whole or
> parts of ESPResSo under any other license (again, this is the intent of the
> GPL).
> I am not saying that there are any sinister intentions on the part of GitHub
> nor that any rashly action is necessary (as neither did the article I
> linked, in fact). I am just pointing out that there is a loophole in the
> GitHub Terms of Use that one should be aware of. If my understanding is
> wrong, I'll be glad to be corrected.
> Thank you,
> Ulf
> On 03/03/2017 02:47 PM, Ulf Schiller wrote:
> >First of all, apologies for the "tracking cancer". I find it equally
> >annoying but it is unfortunately beyond my control.
> >
> >Second, I have shared the link to create awareness of the potential
> >issue and initiate a discussion.
> >
> >Third, I think most subscribers of this list will appreciate
> >substantiating evidence for the claims that the "article is completely
> >exaggerated" and that this case "is completely unrealistic". It may be
> >the case, I simply don't know. Unsubstantiated claims, however, are by a
> >vast majority of the scientific community considered bad practice.
> >
> >Thank you,
> >Ulf
> >
> >On 03/03/2017 11:59 AM, Henri Menke wrote:
> >>First of all the link without the tracking cancer:
> >>
> >>
> >>Second, we don’t have a problem and this article is completely
> >>exaggerated, especially because this would mean that approximately 90%
> >>of all projects on GitHub would be taken down.
> >>
> >>Third, if this is actually the case (which is completely unrealistic)
> >>we just move to
> >>
> >>On 03/03/2017 05:34 PM, Ulf Schiller wrote:
> >>>Stuttgart, we (may) have a problem...
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >
> --
> Dr. Ulf D. Schiller
> Assistant Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering
> Faculty Scholar, School of Health Research
> Clemson University
> 161 Sirrine Hall
> Clemson, SC 29634
> Office: 299c Sirrine Hall
> Phone: 1-864-656-2669
> Fax: 1-864-656-5973

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