For Approval: NASA Open Source Agreement Version 1.1

Arnoud Engelfriet galactus at
Tue Feb 17 19:33:18 UTC 2004

Brian Behlendorf wrote:
> On Tue, 17 Feb 2004 jcowan at wrote:
> > Brian Behlendorf scripsit:
> > > So what happens when I download the code under a FOIA/public domain issue,
> > > and then relicense under a BSD license?  Don't I have the right to
> > > relicense PD works?
> >
> > You can do anything you want to with a public domain work except try to assert
> > a valid copyright on it, which is one of the incidents of the BSD or any
> > other open-source license.  So, no.
> So I have no right to create a derivative work of a public domain work and
> release that derivative work under a license of my choice?  

Sure you can. It's just that you can't claim a copyright to the
original public domain work itself. You seemed to suggest doing
that (rather than creating a derivative work) above when you
said "downloading public domain code and relicensing it under BSD".

The interesting question is whether I can then take your BSD'ed
work and extract the public domain parts. It seems logical I
should be able to do that, but there have been lots of lawsuits
about "restored" versions of PD works and whether the result is


Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies:
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