GNU contributors update
Our lawyers at the Software Freedom Law Center have given us the go-ahead to begin accepting scanned copies of assignments from contributors located in the United States. We are in the process of researching if we can accept scanned documents from contributors based in other countries. As we hear back from lawyers from around the world, we will be updating our list of countries where scanned documents can be accepted.
But even for contributors in countries where scanned assignments cannot be accepted, we have implemented a change that significantly speeds up the assignment process. Instead of mailing forms via the postal service to each contributor, we now simply email a PDF of the assignment that the contributor can print themselves. Previously, we would only accept forms that were printed on our letterhead, in order to ensure that the form was not changed. As the number of contributors from around the world grows, relying on the postal service is increasingly inefficient. Hence, we decided to start sending forms electronically, reducing transit times and ensuring more consistent delivery.
Accepting scanned documents will greatly cut down delays in the assignment process, and using electronic forms wherever possible will help avoid the vagaries of the international postal system.
Together, these changes will make it easier than ever to contribute, and hopefully encourage more hackers to help the GNU Project.