Contributor license agreements

Contributor license agreements

  • If you have an open source project and you anticipate taking contributions from others, then it is in your project’s best interest to have a contributor license agreement.

  • A CLA makes it clear to the contributor and others the interest he or she is granting to the project, as well as to all other individuals and entities that will interact with the software.

  • Only the Apache license accounts for contributions with an embedded contributor license agreement. The MIT is completely silent on contributions, and the GPL only addresses contributions to the extent of a patent grant.

  • The benefit of a CLA is that it documents the provenance of all code that is contributed to the project, and this can be extremely important to commercial enterprises that wish to adopt your project.

  • One of the most important things a CLA does is make clear that non-exclusive copyright and patent grants, whether actual or potential, are granted to the project, and any other contributor and user to the software gets the benefits of those grants as well.

  • A CLA also has the contributor represent and warrant that he or she is the rightful owner of the software and is authorized to make the contribution. These terms represent important protections for your project.”