72 · Representative Documents: OSS Contributor Agreements
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
Guidelines for Contributing to Open/Community Source Software
8/26/2012 Page 3 of 4
Under the executive sponsorship of the UC Information Technology Leadership Council (ITLC), the UC
Technical Acquisition Support (TAS) group researched State and Federal law, and existing University policies
pertinent to making contributions to O/CSS. As a result of that research, TAS developed the following
guidelines, and proposes that they be implemented as an effective mechanism by which the University can
ensure that any code contributions it may make to an O/CSS community are in compliance with the terms and
conditions of the pertinent license, laws and internal policies.
1. Each campus should establish a process by which to ensure that any contribution of University
developed code to an O/CSS community is in the best interest of the University and is in compliance
with the pertinent licenses, laws and policies.
2. The process noted above should include a mechanism by which to effectively confirm that the code to
be contributed was fully created by the University and/or its representatives, and does not contain the
intellectual property of others. This mechanism should include identification of who specifically authored
the code to be contributed, and a review of the laws and/or policies pertinent to that individual's
relationship to the University (staff, faculty, contractor/consultant, etc.).
3. The process noted above should include a mechanism by which to effectively confirm that the code to
be contributed does not have prior conflicting intellectual property rights obligations or restrictions.
4. The process noted above should include a mechanism by which to effectively confirm that any code to
be contributed meets a sufficient level of technical quality and usefulness.
5. The process noted above should include a mechanism by which to effectively confirm whether or not
the benefits derived by contributing the code exceed the benefits that could be derived by the University
retaining exclusive intellectual property rights to the code. In cases where an O/CSS solution has
already been vetted through the appropriate internal governance process and identified as a campus-
wide solution, then it may be prudent to establish that the contribution of University developed code to
that O/CSS project is understood to be in the best interest of the University. NOTE: If the code to be
contributed is for an O/CSS solution licensed under the GPL or other "Reciprocal" license, then the
University could choose to use the code solely for internal purposes, but would not have the right to
externally distribute for a profit.
6. The process noted above should include identification of the positions and offices responsible for each
element of the process.
a) At most UC campuses, the office responsible for technology transfer and/or intellectual property
rights is the primary authority in this area and is likely to be the primary office responsible for
managing this process. See the the list of UC Copyright Contacts
(http://www.ucop.edu/ott/faculty/crcontac.html) for the contact information for this office at each
b) Project leads, supervisors, managers, department heads, directors and senior management are
responsible for identifying projects in their units to which these guidelines apply, and ensuring that
any code contributions are compliance with the established process.
7. It is recommended that this process be clearly defined and documented in a contribution agreement
(CA) that can be completed by each individual developer/contributor, and reviewed by the responsible
individuals and/or offices prior to the contribution being made. The CA should include the following;
a) Identification of the code to be contributed;
b) Identification of the individuals who contributed to the development of the code;
c) Identification of the approved campus-wide information technology project with which the
contribution is associated, if any;
d) Identification of the benefits that would accrue to the University as a result of the contribution;
e) Identification of any code authored by others that may be included in the code to be contributed;