Contributor License Agreement

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1. From the Wikipedia:

"A Contributor License Agreement (CLA) defines the terms under which intellectual property has been contributed to a company/project, typically software under an open source license.

Creative Commons alumna Catharina Maracke released the next generation legal and technical project, Contributor Agreements which provides important contributions to international legal technical aspects of CLAs and lessons learned from previous CLA projects." (

2. Danyl Strype:

"A CLA (Contributor License Agreement) is a legal agreement used by some open source projects so that all the copyright over the contents of the project is held by a single stewardship organization, either the project itself or a third party like the Software Freedom Conservancy. CLAs are controversial because although they can make it easier to defend the project’s license conditions in court, they can also be used to relicense the project to a license that some contributors may not be happy with." (Loomio April 2018)

More Information

Danyl Strype adds:

  • "The Commons Management Agreement is a special form of CLA that can be used by free code software projects like CryptPad who are using a copyleft license (eg GNU AGPL). It specifies that the license of the full version of the project’s software will always remain free and copyleft, but that proprietary licenses may be issued for a fee, allowing comanies to use the software in a commercial setting without honouring the copyleft obligation. This is seen as a way of creating sustainable funding for projects developing software for the commons, and as such, has similar underlying goals to the Peer Production License."

Example at