Legal

Fiduciary Licence Agreement (FLA)

What is the FLA?

The Fiduciary Licence Agreement (FLA) is a copyright assignment that allows one entity to safeguard all of the code created for a project by consolidating copyright (or exclusive exploitation rights) to counteract copyright fragmentation.

This enables projects to protect their legal maintainability by preserving the ability to relicense code and ensuring sufficient rights to enforce licences in court. The person assigning does not lose their rights to the code either, as the FLA gives back unlimited usage/single exploitation rights to the author. The FLA also applies a set of principles for the fiduciary. If they breach these principles, all grants and licenses made to them automatically expire.

Benefeciaries of the FLA assign the copyright in their work, and in countries where assignments of the copyright in a work are impossible, they grant the fiduciary an exclusive license (see §1(1) for details). Therefore, the FLA is designed to work in both civil and common law countries.

The FLA is used for FSFE's Fiduciary Programme. It can also be adapted to assign the rights to any other third party.

You can learn more about the FLA by emailing us.

Authors

The FLA was written by Dr. Axel Metzger (ifross) and Georg Greve (FSFE) in consultation with renowned international legal and technical experts. Parties ivolved in the evolution of the FLA included RA Dr. Till Jaeger, Carsten Schulz, Prof. Eben Moglen, RA Thorsten Feldmann (LL.M.), Werner Koch, Alessandro Rubini, Reinhard Muller and others. The latest revision was compiled by Georg Greve and FSFE's FTF coordinator Shane M Coughlan based on feedback provided by Dr. Lucie Guibault of the Institute for Information Law in the Netherlands.