Project Harmony (FOSS group)

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Project Harmony is an initiative by Canonical Ltd. about contributor agreements for Open Source software. The aim of the Harmony project is to develop templates of Contributor License Agreements for use by Free and open source software (FOSS) projects.

The Canonical initiative was announced in June 2010 by Amanda Brock, General Counsel at Canonical.[1] In July 2011, the project released version 1.0 of its agreements templates.[2] Following this release, the project was seen by some as an important step for intellectual property and copyright management for open Source software,[3] and by some others as "Making an exception (ie copyright aggregation) the norm".[4]

Contributor agreement options[edit]

The project proposes two types of options for the Contributor License Agreements:[5][6]

  • Copyright License: The contributors retain the copyright to their contribution.
  • Copyright Assignment: The contributors transfer the copyright of their contribution to the project.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Amanda Brock (2010-06-24). "Project Harmony looks to improve contribution agreements". Retrieved 2011-07-15. Project Harmony is intended to assist organisations which use contribution agreements by providing standardised variable templates with clear and concise explanations; to come to a common understanding on these; and to recognise the relative maturity of FOSS by dealing with its internationalisation. Our goal is to make the process of contributing to FOSS projects easier for developers regardless of who their employers are. We believe that standardised contribution agreements should serve this goal. 
  2. ^ Amanda Brock. "How to Get Involved". Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  3. ^ "Peace and Harmony between FOSS contributors and lawyers". 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2011-07-15. The Harmony Project is an attempt to provide some clarity to the discussion by creating a set of usable documents (with their guide, Creative Commons-style agreement generator, and FAQ) and the first version of the documents will be a stake in the ground to anchor debate for some time 
  4. ^ "Out Of Tune With Community". 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2011-07-15. As Dave Neary points out and Fontana explains more expansively, the biggest issue with Project Harmony is the risk that it will validate the idea of copyright aggregation. It may sometimes be advisable to have a participant agreement for a community, to ensure that everyone has the same understanding of and commitment to the project if they are sharing its evolution. 
  5. ^ "Project Harmony decloaks". 2011-04-11. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  6. ^ "Guide to the Contributor Agreements". Retrieved 2011-07-15. 

External links[edit]