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This page answers most of the common queries that we receive about our contribution agreements.

Frequent Questions about ASF Contribution Agreements

  1. May I re-use (and modify) the ASF Contributor License Agreements (CLAs) for my own purposes?

  2. What is the scope of patent grants made to the ASF?

  3. Are contributor's employers required to sign a CCLA?

If none of the above addresses your query, please check the resources at the bottom of this page for general information.

Answers

Here are the detailed answers for each of the questions above.

May I re-use (and modify) the ASF Contributor License Agreements (CLAs) for my own purposes?

Yes, you are allowed to re-use and modify them. You just can't hold the ASF legally responsible if these documents are not exactly what you intend them to be. We recommend that you obtain your own legal advice so you know exactly what you are getting yourself into.

And if you adapt these agreements for your purposes, you have to make sure that the phrase 'Apache Software Foundation' or any confusingly similar references or parts that specifically refer to the Apache organisation do not appear in your version of the agreements (except to note that your version is derived and differs from the original provided by the ASF).

What is the scope of patent grants made to the ASF?

This is a four part question:

Q1:
If I own a patent and contribute to a Work, and, at the time my contribution is included in that Work, none of my patent's claims are subject to Apache's Grant of Patent License, is there a way any of those claims would later become subject to the Grant of Patent License solely due to subsequent contributions by other parties who are not licensees of that patent.
A1:
No.
Q2:
If at any time after my contribution, I am able to license other patent claims that would have been subject to Apache's Grant of Patent License if they were licenseable by me at the time of my contribution, do those other claims become subject to the Grant of Patent License?
A2:
Yes.
Q3:
If I own or control a licensable patent and contribute code to a specific Apache product, which of my patent claims are subject to Apache's Grant of Patent License?
A3:
The only patent claims that are licensed to the ASF are those you own or have the right to license that read on your contribution or on the combination of your contribution with the specific Apache product to which you contributed as it existed at the time of your contribution. No additional patent claims become licensed as a result of subsequent combinations of your contribution with any other software. Note, however, that licensable patent claims include those that you acquire in the future, as long as they read on your original contribution as made at the original time. Once a patent claim is subject to Apache's Grant of Patent License, it is licensed under the terms of that Grant to the ASF and to recipients of any software distributed by the ASF for any Apache software product whatsoever.
Q4:
What is an Apache product?
A4:
An Apache product is a body of software being developed by the ASF that the ASF intends to both alter and to publish as a separate line of releases.

Are contributor's employers required to sign a CCLA?

Only if their employment situation necessitates that a CCLA be signed. See section 4 of the ICLA for details.

Committers must sign an ICLA. They make an individual claim that the code that they contribute is theirs to license. Reviewing their ICLA against their employer's ownership interests, applicable state and national law, and specific aspects of their employment contract and business policies will reveal that they can or cannot make that claim regarding any particular commit to whichever particular project they are committing in.

The CCLA is a backup document that the committer/ICLA signer may use to eliminate all of the ambiguity between all these conflicting laws, contracts, policies and job assignments. We've never required it, many committers are confident of their individual representations under the ICLA, many other committers find it reassuring that their company has backed up their own ICLA with this umbrella document.

It is the ICLA signatory's call if it is required, but it isn't exactly an easy call for many committers employed in the IT/Software industry.

Finally, see section 8 of the ICLA, which requires signers to notify the Foundation when their status changes in ways that may require this to be reassessed.

Another Place to Look

If you have questions about The Apache Software Foundation, its projects, or its software, we recommend the following link for more information or assistance:

If you have a question specifically about the Apache license or distribution of Apache software, and it has not been answered by this page, please contact the Legal Affairs Committee.