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A Sad Day for CouchSurfing

At least three volunteer developers have resigned from the CouchSurfing Tech Team on account of the new NDA that all volunteers will be required to sign.

The new NDA includes a non-compete clause preventing volunteers from working with any other travel or social networks. It also requires that volunteers transfer their Intellectual Property rights to CouchSurfing International Inc.

I heard that somebody describe it perfectly, they said “it’s not volunteering, it’s slavery”.

4 Responses to “A Sad Day for CouchSurfing”

  • NDA is a bad thing for a community oriented site like CS. Sad to see things come to a state like this.

  • I think the clause was “travel oriented social networks” – so more specific than all travel and all social networks (not that it makes it any easier for some of us/you/new pronoun needed here? ;)

    You can write in amendments that can remedy the situation, however, it’s the spirit of the agreement that makes it a tough one to swallow for anyone even a hunch of je ne sais quoi… intelligence?

    To me, it clearly implies what are the values of the core of the organization, and makes me question my own involvement as well: can I keep endorsing a structure that so clearly states that whereas my work is welcome, I’d better keep my thoughts to myself?

  • While, I am new to CS, I do have to chime in and say this… Forcing people to sign an NDA is a bad idea and reminds me very much so of what happened recently to another popular internet project.

    CONTEXT: Miro [sponsor of Mambo - the online Content Management System - an easy to administer (yet powerful) website web-based building software] tried something very similar…

    A little over a year ago now, Miro decided to change the rules and force their way on things similarly to this NDA situation happening here on CS…


    —> 98% the core programming team of Mambo resigned/left and went on to create a new project called: Joomla

    —> 85% [probably closer to 95%] of the community [including users and programmers ]followed and Miro ended up with having to start all over with Mambo from both a programming and community standpoint…

    —> MORE IMPORTANT even is that now Mambo is this fledging, trying to rebuild itself platform with little support from both end-users and programmers and that everyone’s attention, energies, enthusiasm is aimed at Joomla.


    Maybe Couchsurfing International, Inc. should be careful that they don’t become the ‘has-been’, ‘could have been greater than anything’ solution.. Who knows maybe they will learn from the mistakes that others have made and this will allow them not to have a similar outcome?

    Just something worth considering…
    CS International Inc. are you listening?



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