How to Use the Contributor Agreements

The Harmony contributor agreements are meant to be a toolkit for FOSS projects, and as such they include several options to cover a broad variety of needs. In adopting a Harmony contributor agreement, a FOSS project needs to select the combination of options that best suit their community values and culture. The folowing steps outline a quick summary of the relevant choices:

  1. Select a base contributor agreement: Harmony Contributor License Agreement (CLA) or Harmony Contributor Assignment Agreement (CAA). You will then have two variants of the base agreement, one for individual contributors and one for entity contributors (organizations, corporations, etc).
  2. Select one of the five options about outbound licenses in Section 2.1(d) of the CLA or 2.1(f) of the CAA.
  3. Decide whether to add an outbound Media license option in 2.1(e) of the CLA or 2.1(g) of the CAA. Typical license choices here are the Creative Common licenses or the GNU Free Documentation License which are well suited for documentation, images, or video.
  4. Decide on a method of dealing with Contributions that include works whose copyrights are owned by third parties. Include a link to your process or policy in Section 3(d). Different projects will have different needs and therefore different strategies, such as technical solutions (e.g. Git's sign-off feature), developer community policies, legal documentation paper trails, or requiring that third party works be submitted separately by the upstream owner or under the upstream license.
  5. Select the governing law and include it in Section 5.1. Often, this will be the governing law where the project's non-profit foundation or other incorporated entity is located, if the project has one.
  6. Determine how the contributor should indicate agreement. Some options are:
    1. Signed agreements which are faxed or sent by PDF to the project;
    2. Use of "digital signature" services such as; or
    3. Use of email confirmations.

These choices should be made after obtaining advice from counsel familiar with these issues.

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