Assigning your copyright to the Free Software Foundation helps defend the GPL and keep software free. Thanks to Dr. Detler Steuer, Trey Jamal Peacock, Niklas Eklund, and Ignacio Casso San Roman for assigning their copyright to the FSF! Learn more at

@fsf what does it mean to "assign" it to FSF? What are the implications and benefits? What responsibilities does it bring or lift?! This is vague and I didn't find any answer on FSF website either

@Mehrad assigning your copyright to FSF means you give FSF legal rights over your contribution on GNU packages. I assigned my copyright to them because I wanted FSF to have full control over what I did there.

It's helpful specially when there's a violation of GPL and FSF needs to take legal action. FSF can enforce the license only on what it owns and this will help them.

@arh @fsf so does it mean that you lose all your rights and authorship and they will continue maintaining the project? Your explanation helped but didn't solve it. Also the barrier if entry seem pretty high as it should be in their software directory. For instance, none of my softwares are in their "software directory" which means even if I want to, I'm not accepted.

@Mehrad you can still contribute and do whatever you do. I believe you can also submit your software to become a GNU package if it fits and assign your copyright.

@arh thanks. I might spend more weekend time on this, but I'm already repelled and exhausted by looking at this 90s website of FSF and lack of clear explanations.

I consider myself as somewhat tech savvy and yet I'm extremely puzzled about the whole thing despite of being curious enough to read and search for it (of course not for hours). This shows poor design and poor communication and explanation from @fsf, I support the cause, but I also don't want to get into legal trap, hence need info

@Mehrad the FSF and GNU web sites are designed in a way to be accessible for everybody but I don't ignore the fact that the design looks old, you're completely right.

About the legal stuff, I wouldn't call it a trap. It's a very simple idea. FSF asks you to assign your copyright to be able to fight for the enforcement of GNU GPL license family. You won't need to do anything aside for signing some papers. FSF will handle the rest. You'll be in charge of everything you did on your package.

@arh @fsf I'm not implying that the FSF stuff is trap, what I meant is that I don't feel easy about legal stuff when there is insufficient amount if information, therefore it feels like a trap. Imho they should make an animated video or even a normal presentation video and explain the whole thing in simple terms.

maybe you should ask the fsf for a copy of the assignment agreement it asks contributors, and talk to your own lawyer about it, *before* suggesting something you don't seem to know much about feels like a trap, you know?

@lxo dude, I literally asked for more information!!! How backward are you?! Let me assist you with a fantastic resource that you obviously lack:

Take your trolling and sarcasm to another social media!

@lxo maybe they should publish that document and make it available for everyone to see!!

whereas people smearing the FSF are a dime a dozen, and I'm sorry to say your allegations that the assignment was some kind of trap fit the pattern quite perfectly. I'm afraid I don't understand your reaction to my suggestion: would you rather go by an informed opinion from a law professional based on a reading of the contract proper, or by internet rumors?
I think you confusing a few things.

Copyright assignments is only for contribution to GNU packages. To it's easier to enforce the license.

The Free Software Directory isn't limited to GNU packages, it's for all free software.
If your free software packages are not listed on the FSD, you should submit them in their IRC channel where the FSD related meeting happens.

As for website design and other things related to the website, you can talk about it on their mailing list.


Thanks for the explanations. I'm trying to understand the whole thing but I have found it confusing and I don't see a clear text explanation on why one should assign it to FSF on their website. I can now understand it better based on you and @arh responses.

I also wonder why the @fsf haven't facilitated the software submission process. Kinda wish there were easy to follow explanation on their website.

I think there's a common trend in any decently large organisation the communication with outside the organisation suffers drastically. Since the people inside the organisation are comfortable with iit because of experience but people outside the organisation don't understand the thing.

I think the solution to this issue is organisation of communications. But I don't know how to apply it practically.

Thank you very much for the explanation and the help to our friend.
@Mehrad @fsf

let's start by the beginning. what do you mean by "software submission process", and how does that related with your goals? AFAIK the FSF is usually happy to accept copyright assignments over GNU software, but that's orthogonal to releasing a program as free software, or having it included in the free software directory. assigning copyrights over a copylefted program to the FSF enables it to defend the essential software freedoms of all GNU users as a copyright holder. if you don't assign the copyrights, you'd be the one who'd have to engage in copyright enforcement. through the assignment agreement, the FSF grants you back a license to use your contribution however you like, and it commits itself to release the software under freedom-respecting terms, but IANAL, and this is not legal advice. IIRC the assignment papers used to be more readily available, but that led to some frequent problems, so now they're supplied upon request
I guess there might be legal reasons to not be overly verbose on explanations of what the assignment amounts to from the FSF itself: the exact details on how the agreement might be interpreted in case of legal disputes might vary from one jurisdiction to another, and any FSF public statement about it might be considered binding, so it would have to be vetted by legal counsel for the FSF. lawyers with broad international experience in contract and copyright law, familiar and supportive of FSF's goals, and willing to volunteer their help to the FSF have always been in short supply.
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