Please discuss on the discussion page.

Note copyright laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Assuming the Foswiki association will be incorporated in Germany, request someone to provide information about German copyright law.

Note how to manage the copyright notice is under discussion (see CopyrightAndLicenseTalk) and has been proposed as a future agenda item at a community meeting. For purposes of discussion, the following text assumes that individual contributions are not being manually tracked on a per file basis, and a central list of contributors is kept in the AUTHORS file, as described in

The following is written primarily from the standpoint of Canadian and United States copyright law, with reference to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. Note computer programs have been explicitly designated as eligible for copyright protection under the WIPO Copyright Treaty.

Quick summary

If you modify a Foswiki source file, you hold the copyright for your changes. If you are not already listed, add your name to the AUTHORS file.


The Foswiki project has not required the copyright for contributions to be assigned to the Foswiki association. By GPL, Foswiki has permitted anyone to create derivative works of the Foswiki product, as long as existing copyright for the original work is preserved. The Foswiki project allows individual contributors to hold the copyright for their specific contributions to the Foswiki product (that is, the contributions they have made to create the new derivative work).



In Canada and the United States, the size of a creative work is not a determining factor for authorship of a work eligible for copyright. Thus any creative contribution, no matter how small, has a copyright held by its author. Note computer programs are considered to be literary works.

By the Berne convention, authors have exclusive rights to create alterations of their works. By agreeing to license their work under the GPL, authors have agreed to allow others to create derivative works. The GPL is silent on the question of copyright ownership for the contributions, though in its FAQ, it notes without any copyright ownership, the GPL cannot be enforced.

By the Berne convention, the minimum term of copyright for a literary work must last until fifty years after the death of the last surviving author of the copyrighted work.
Topic revision: r3 - 01 Dec 2010, OliverKrueger
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