Estimated Reading Time:

Podling IP Clearance


Existing codebases need to be imported through the standard IP clearance process. This means that a Software Grant Agreement (SGA) or Contributor License Agreement (CLA) needs to be submitted for all copyright owners. This process may take a while so it is best to start as soon as the podling is accepted.

The acceptance of the initial codebases is approved by the IPMC as part of the acceptance motion. So, no vote is required by the PPMC. Otherwise, follow the standard IP clearance process for podlings.

Establishing Provenance

Paperwork needs to be submitted to Apache that grants a legal license on the code to the Apache Software Foundation. As a rule of thumb, if all the material contributors to the code are joining the podling as initial contributors, then CLAs (individual or corporate) are all you need. The individuals must submit the 'individual' CLA (ICLA). If there are employers involved who might claim rights in the code, then corporate CLAs (CCLAs) are needed for those employers.

If, on the other hand, there are material contributors who are not joining the podling as initial contributors, or if there are additional corporate entities who can claim rights in the code, then SGAs are required from those individuals or corporations.

The foregoing is only a rule of thumb. Generally, the mentors of a new project will need to consult with or the Apache legal team about the particular circumstances.

It may take some time to track down all contributors. It is not necessary to have paperwork on file for all contributions before the code is imported. It may be necessary to reverse some patches and rewrite areas of code if contributors cannot be found or at not happy about given Apache written permission to use their code.

No releases are possible until the provenance of all the code to be release has been clearly established and the relevant paperwork filed with Apache. It is therefore important to keep the status updated.

Receipts of ICLAs, CCLAs, and SGAs are recorded by the secretary in the private foundation repository. Reading is restricted to members and officers of the foundation. If there is no officer or member available then ask on the general list.

IPMC Responsibility around IP Clearance

The board has charged the Incubator project with management of IP clearance for Apache. Instructions are here.

These equally apply to podlings. The Incubator project is responsible for all podlings and so is the receiving PMC. So, when a podling requests IP clearance, the IPMC wears two hats. This may be a little confusing at first.

The Incubator PMC must approve the clearance. This indicates that the project is happy to receive the code donated. When a new podling is created, this is done by the identification of existing codebases in the proposal. Otherwise, the IPMC delegates this decision to the PPMC.

As usual, three binding votes are required. So, Mentors need to be involved in IP clearance for podlings. If too few binding VOTEs are posted on list, the VOTE will need to be posted to the general list for ratification.

The second hat is technical IP clearance. Here, the IPMC needs to check that the paperwork is in order. Once the acceptance vote has been approved, an officer or member need to complete the process. For a podling, this will typically involve a Mentor.