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Podling IP Clearance


Podlings need to import existing codebases through the standard IP clearance process. This means that all copyright owners need to submit a Software Grant Agreement (SGA) or Contributor License Agreement (CLA). This process may take a while, so it is best to start as soon as the Incubator accepts the podling.

The IPMC (Incubator Product Management Committee) approves the initial codebase as part of the acceptance motion. No vote is required by the PPMC. Otherwise, follow the standard IP clearance process for podlings.

Establishing Provenance

The podling needs to submit paperwork to Apache that grants a legal license on the code to the Apache Software Foundation. Generally, 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, they need to provide corporate CLAs (CCLAs).

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, the podling must obtain SGAs from those individuals or corporations.

The foregoing is only a summary. The mentors of a new project will need to consult with or the Apache legal team about the circumstances of a specific podling.

It may take some time to track down all contributors. It is not necessary to have paperwork on file for all contributions before importing the code. It may be necessary to reverse some patches and rewrite areas of code if you cannot find copyright owners, or they are not happy about giving Apache written permission to use their code.

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

The ASF Secretary records receipt of ICLAs, CCLAs, and SGAs in the private Foundation repository. Reading is restricted to members and officers of the Foundation. If there is no officer or member available to check whether the secretary has received all relevant documents, ask for help 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 instructions also apply to podlings. The Incubator project is responsible for all podlings and so is the receiving PMC. 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, the IPMC approves the clearance of existing codebases identified in the proposal. Otherwise, the IPMC delegates this decision to the PPMC.

As usual, three binding votes are required. Mentors need to be involved in IP clearance for podlings. If too few binding VOTEs are posted on the 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 IPMC approves the acceptance vote, an officer or member need to complete the process. For a podling, this will typically involve a Mentor.