Recommended Change to Author LIsting in Documentation

John Ralls jralls at
Mon Dec 12 10:15:44 EST 2016

> On Dec 12, 2016, at 4:17 AM, David T. via gnucash-devel <gnucash-devel at> wrote:
> I see that John has already removed the email addresses of individuals listed in gnu cash-guide.xml.
> Looking at the other two aspects, I see putting a combined note for both 2 & 3 attached to the releaseinfo tag, which currently says: “This Guide contains a tutorial for using GnuCash and describes the concepts behind GnuCash." 
> Looking more at what John did and didn’t do, I see that he left the individual copyright statements in the document, but it seems to me that there is a cross up here that could cause problems. Specifically, the copyright is assigned to named individuals and also to the GnuCash Documentation Team, but some of the individual copyright holders are also later identified as members of the GDT, which could lead to questions about who actually holds the copyright. Does Yawar Amin hold copyright, or does the GDT, of which Yawar is a member? 
> I don’t know what the proper answer to this question is; perhaps someone else does?

Copyright belongs to the author unless he legally assigns it to another person (natural or corporate). The GnuCash Documentation Team isn't a corporation and so isn't a person and so can't be assigned copyright. Copyright statements assert copyright, they don't assign it. While protected speech, the assertion of copyright by the GnuCash Documentation Team is legally meaningless since there's no legal entity behind the assertion.

There's a nice general discussion of copyright in open source at <>, and the FSF (which requires copyright assignment on its core projects) has quite a lot on their website as well.

John Ralls

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