I'm the owner of a free, but non-open source, Android app. I have received many offers by my users to voluntarily contribute by translating the app in other languages.

What does this mean by a legal standpoint? Should they sign some sort of CLA? I'd like to prevent future legal problems if my app becomes commercial or I want to sell it to another company.

  • If you want to avoid legal problems, get a lawyer. – Nij Feb 1 at 10:21
  • 4
    Wow, really? I did not think about it! Was just searching for general advice before taking further actions... – Alessandro Feb 1 at 10:38

Yes, it can be useful to sign a contract with the contributors to make clear that:

  1. They offer their services free of charge
  2. They give you permission to use their translation in your project
  3. They won't suddenly retract their permission, no matter what you do with your project (change it, sell it, decide to monetize it in some way, etc.)
  4. They take liability for damages caused by their work, for example when the translation contains inappropriate language and it gets your game censored from the app store.

This is of course a wish-list from your perspective. Individual volunteers might want to negotiate some of these points. For example, I would be very wary of accepting a liability clause for work I don't get paid for.

It can be useful to get professional help for drafting the language of these contracts.

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  • Thanks a lot! This is a good starting point. I'm already searching for a professional that can help me (especially with the fourth point). Cheers – Alessandro Feb 2 at 8:17

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