FAQ: Plugin Copyright & License Agreement

  • To be removed as it evolves - This version of FAQ is a “WORK IN PROGRESS”, and shall not constitute as a reference acceptable by Jive Software or any other interested parties.

Copyright Issues

Who owns the copyright?


Whoever created the plugin owns the copyright (copyright is a completely separate issue from licensing).

If Dawn creates a plugin as part of her job, Jive owns the copyright; if Aznidin creates a plugin, he (or his company) would own the copyright.

Do I need to include the copyright notice in the source code of my plugin?


No you don’t need to, but you should. You should even cite yourself as the author of the plugin. You should be proud of your contribution :-). If you don’t include the copyright notice but you have your name as the author, it is assumed that you own the copyright. If you don’t cite any of these, anybody can claim ownership of your codes.

Can I insert “All rights reserved.” statement in my copyright notice?


Yes you can. In most cases, this is usually implied. See the Copyright wiki for details.

Can I insert “Copyright © 2007 Jive Software. All rights reserved.” in my code at will?


Do I need to retain the copyright notice after modifying somebody else’s plugin?


What if I have a lot of enhancements over existing plugin?


Try to incorporate your enhancements over the existing one and retain the original copyright. However if you find your idea somehow diverges from the original idea, or if your enhancement is substantial and the development of existing plugin is at stale, you can create a new plugin based on the existing one and make yourself the owner of the copyright, but you need to make a proper citation of the author who owns the original idea or plugin.

Can I create packages that starts with org.jivesoftware.*?


Open Source License Agreement Issues

What license agreement are Openfire, Spark & Smack subject to?

Openfire, Spark & Smack projects are subject to GNU General Public License (GPL) version 3.

What license agreement are my plugins subject to?

Because Openfire is released under the Open Source GPL license, any plugins developed must also be released under the GPL or a compatible Open Source license if you distribute the plugins outside your organization. It is a violation of the license agreement to create plugins for distribution that are not Open Source.

What are the GPL compatible open source license to use?


See List of FSF approved software licenses.

Will Jive include my plugin as part of the code base?


No if you haven’t sign the Contributor Agreement.

Yes if you have signed the Contributor Agreement.

So, if you think that your plugin (or even your idea) will soon become a potential candidate, sign the the agreement now.

How does my plugin qualify for adoption into the code base?

Any code that gets into the official code base has to be “clean” from an intellectual property standpoint so that integrity of the project is protected. So, the general policies are:

  • Any contributions to core server code or patches need to have a Contributor Agreement.

  • Same applies for the major plugins that are most important to the community (we want those to be protected too).

  • Minor plugins or plugins not hosted on igniterealtime definitely don’t need the agreement.

Jive Software deserves all the rights to choose.

Commercial License Agreement Issues

Can I create a commercial plugin and make it available in Igniterealtime?


Please visit Jive Software if you need different licensing terms for Openfire, including the right to create commercial plugins.

Why does it say that Spark is subject to the GPL? The LICENSE.html file in Spark/documentation says that its LGPL.