synaptics driver MIT license approach

Alan Coopersmith alan.coopersmith at
Tue May 8 16:24:03 PDT 2007

Yan Seiner wrote:
> Colin Guthrie wrote:
>> Not wanting to be morbid or a harbinger of doom, but what would happen
>> if one of the above has passed away? Would that stop the relicense
>> attempt for e.g. 25 years (or however long copyright is these days/in
>> your territory of choice), or could you ask their executor of their
>> estate? Or do you just say, "sod it they're awa' the crow road so who
>> cares!!" and relicense anyway?!!!
>> Just some idle thoughts from an idle mind. I'd love to see synaptics
>> come under the Xorg wing.
> Isn't there some kind of 'quiet title' provision in the license?  Seems 
> to me that this sort of thing should be handled.  Say you attempt to 
> contact the author, his/her last known employer, post on mailing lists 
> s/he used to frequent, and if you don't get a response for say 6 months 
> the license can be changed?

This is one of the reasons many projects, including most GNU projects
from the FSF, ask authors to assign or share copyright with them, so
there's a single point of contact and no worries about having to track
down deadbeats or dead people's relatives.

X.Org hasn't traditionally done that - hence the wild proliferation of
copyright and license statements.   Allowing authors who wanted to do
so wouldn't be controversial, but requiring it would take some work.
(For instance, my employer allows me to contribute code to X under the
  MIT license with our copyright, but assigning copyright to X.Org would
  probably require another couple months of legal review first, and I
  suspect I'm not alone here.)

	-Alan Coopersmith-           alan.coopersmith at
	 Sun Microsystems, Inc. - X Window System Engineering

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