We’re currently struggling over contract terms related to a large outsourced Open Source development project. As the intellectual property terms seem to be difficult to many I thought to summarize the terms I feel comfortable with:
- The ownership of the intellectual property can remain at contractor or customer, depending on the situation
- The project must be made available under an OSI-approved Open Source license
- The code and documentation must be managed in a publicly available version control repository
The first and second term should be quite obvious. Usually the IP rights are best kept in ownership of the contractor, or given to a common governing body like Apache Software Foundation or Free Software Foundation Europe.
But what is very important for sustainability of the project is the availability of the version control repository. Third parties must be able to see what is going on with the development and be able to participate. Good options for such repositories include SourceForge and Tigris.