Re: [AMBER-Developers] Linking Amber and AmberTools together--GPL issues?

From: Ross Walker <>
Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2011 09:28:00 -0700

Hi Tim,

> So, anything that anyone adds to AmberTools under the guise of the gpl
> is automagically licensed under something else as well? If you owned
> the copyright - you can change the license however you want - sure.
> But if a gpl code is accepting contributions without a copyright
> contract from contributors, then you wouldn't seem to have the right
> to dual license those contributions. I would have guessed that the
> point of gpl-ing ambertools would be to avoid the headache of dealing
> with that legal headache.

I believe the assumption is that by contributing code to the AMBER project
(AMBER / AMBERTools) one is either assigning the copyright to the AMBER
project or if one signed a non exclusive contributor agreement then one is
assigning the AMBER Project a specific irrevocable license to use that code.
Such contributions would precede one making their code GPL or whatever
license they choose and so would override and invalidate that license within
the context of AMBER. If one does not agree with these terms, and insists
for example that their code be strict GPL and thus limit the way it can be
used in other parts of AMBER (due to licensing differences) then I think is
not appropriate for that person to contribute to AMBER and thus benefit from
the distribution vehicle that AMBER represents.

I think this is a fair development policy and I believe all the developers
should subscribe to it. Note a number of graduate students and postdocs here
are implicitly included in this by nature of doing the work while working
for their PI who is subscribed to this model.

We do not necessarily have this implemented in writing but I believe this is
the assumption under which we all work. If necessary we should have it in
writing but to be honest none of us are lawyers, none of us, I assume, have
any interest in becoming lawyers and thus it is probably better if this
remains a memorandum of understanding that as developers we all have a
vested interest in improving AMBER as a project.

Just my $2000 (legal advice is always overpriced and like the contents of
this email probably worthless).

All the best

|\oss Walker

| Assistant Research Professor |
| San Diego Supercomputer Center |
| Adjunct Assistant Professor |
| Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry |
| University of California San Diego |
| NVIDIA Fellow |
| | |
| Tel: +1 858 822 0854 | EMail:- |

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Received on Sat Nov 05 2011 - 09:30:05 PDT
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