What does "ownership" of a module mean?

So, I was contacted by someone yesterday with patches for a module I wrote during my employment at Fotango. I thought it might be a good idea to release these patches, but looking at the module in question, I quickly realised that I didn't actually have rights to upload an updated version, because the module in question is owned on CPAN by the FOTANGO CPAN user. This complicates matters no end. You see, Fotango was shut down by it's parent company quite a while back. There is no Fotango anymore. I no longer have access to the FOTANGO CPAN account, nor do I know any person that does. I contacted Alias. He's trying to sort it out. I know, for example, in theory the property rights for Fotango revert to the parent company (though the exactly who owns that IP is something that the lawyers probably know - I'm not sure myself.) Obviously the code isn't the issue here; The code is open source and licensed in such a way that it can be forked by me quite happily. The real question here is, is the CPAN ID intellectual property? Are the CPAN namespaces? Do they have value in the same way that a domain name does? If the answer is yes, then we need to get then we've got bigger issues at foot than who owns the Fotango modules. Anyone who has released company code using their own CPAN ID rather than a company one (which is currently considered best practice) is registering IP that belongs to the company in their own name. That can't be right. If the answer is no, then the namespaces are just things that someone (presumably the PAUSE admins and/or the modules mailing list) control and "ownership" of a module is just a handy tag to let the automated systems do automated tasks so a real human doesn't keep having to make judgement calls every five minutes. This doesn't mean the real human doesn't need guidelines and rules to work within however. What's the correct thing to do when a company (or for that matter, human) dies? I think my argument stands that the "ownership" doesn't transfer like other property rights. I'm sure that Greater Minds than myself have already debated and come to conclusions on this; Anyone want to point me towords the guidelines?

- to blog -

blog built using the cayman-theme by Jason Long. LICENSE