(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.
Some Open Source projects use Contribution Agreements; others do not. Notable amongs those that do are the Apache Software Foundation and RIM’s open source projects. The arrangement at ASF is that there is a Corporate Contribution Agrement and an Individual Contribution Agreement. A suscint description of the rationale for the Contribution agreement is here.
The arrangement at RIM borrows very heavily from that at Apache. The contribution process used for RIM’s projects at GitHub is described at howToContribute.html; the list of signatories is at approvedSignatories.html.
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