For Approval: NASA Open Source Agreement Version 1.1

jcowan at jcowan at
Tue Feb 17 22:16:43 UTC 2004

Lawrence E. Rosen scripsit:

> I don't think so, John. Anyone can do ANYTHING to a public domain work. No
> license is required, whether it is to do plastic surgery or simply to put on
> lipstick. If anything, the proper question is whether the degree of
> creativity in the "derivative work" is sufficient to actually create a new
> copyrightable work. If not, that so-called derivative work will be an
> uncopyrightable public domain work too.

I agree that that is the issue, though your wording is better than mine.

Brian can't just take an arbitrary piece of public domain software (for
concreteness, let us take the TZ library, whose author is one Arthur
David Olson, a U.S. government employee) and slap a "Copyright 2004
Brian Behlendorf" on it: that would be fraudulent, though admittedly
it's not clear to me who would have standing to sue.  He could, however,
do what the FSF has done: create a derivative work like GNU libc, which
incorporates code originally written by Olson, and put his own copyright
and license on that.

"You know, you haven't stopped talking          John Cowan
since I came here. You must have been 
vaccinated with a phonograph needle."           jcowan at
        --Rufus T. Firefly            
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