Guide to Changes in the Beta Version
This document is a guide to the changes in the Harmony agreements made between the Alpha release and the Beta release. Most of these changes directly respond to comments, questions, and suggestions from the harmony-review mailing list. The drafting group also made a pass over the documents for clarity and ease of use, based on feedback.
When reading this guide, it can be helpful to refer to the Alpha and Beta versions of the agreement drafts.
- Changed the blanks to descriptive variables, to make it clearer what's meant to be filled in (for example "[PROJECT_NAME]" instead of "_______________").
- Changed the ALL CAPS headings to title case.
The title changed from the generic "CONTRIBUTOR AGREEMENT" to a specific title for each document (for example "Harmony Individual Contributor License Agreement"). This change was proposed on harmony-review, and improves readability.
The language of both paragraphs was simplified in the clarity pass. The second sentence of the first paragraph was dropped, defining "You" isn't necessary at that point, since it's defined a few lines later. The instructions for how to submit the agreement to the project expanded to include specific options (mail, email, fax, and electronic submission), with the idea that these will be selectable by the project. The link for more details on how to submit moved into the introductory paragraph, instead of buried in the bottom of the document.
- The phrase "shall mean" changed to "means" throughout the definitions, in response to feedback on harmony-review.
- Removed the definition numbering, so the defined terms stand out more clearly.
- Changed the order of definitions from "alphabetical" to "relevance", to make it easier to read.
- Removed the definition of "Submission" and changed "Submitted" to "Submit". One definition is enough to cover all uses.
- Removed the definition of "Patent Claims", merging it into the Patent License section. Partly for clarity and ease of reading, but also partly from a concern raised over redefining terms that already have a legal meaning.
- Changed "Work" to "Material", again to avoid redefining words that already have a legal meaning. Other alternatives considered were "Project" (confusing because it's also used to refer to the people or organization of a software project, and not just the body of code), "P-work" (awkward), "Activity" (confusing), and "Project Output" (vague). Other suggestions welcome.
- Simplified the language of several definitions.
Split out the patent license into a separate section. Easier to follow the flow this way, easier to refer back to it, and easier to see the (small) difference between the license and assignment versions of the agreements. The language was clarified and simplified, and also absorbed the meaning from the definition of "Patent Claims", so that definition could be removed.
Split out the condition on the outbound license into a separate section. Easier to follow the flow this way, easier to refer back to it, and easier to see the (small) difference between the license and assignment versions of the agreements.
Simplified the language around ownership of rights, instructions for notifying the project when you don't own the rights, and not violating third parties' rights.
Consequential Damage Waiver
Feedback on harmony-review raised a question about the order of multiply nested parentheses. On review, we decided they were unnecessary and overly complex, and so deleted the inner parenthetical "(INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE)".
Split separate concepts into separate subsections, instead of collecting them all in one big paragraph. Clarified language on the obligations of any third party who takes on responsibility for the rights in the agreement (from either the contributor or the project), based on feedback from harmony-review.