NASA requests help finding gov't use of standard OSS licenses.

VanL van.lindberg at
Wed May 4 12:28:57 UTC 2011

On 5/4/2011 2:43 AM, David Woolley wrote:
> As I understand it, use is not a controlled right under US copyright
> law, so use couldn't constitute acceptance. This is use in the limited
> sense of running the software; making derivatives would be acceptance.

You are right that a *license* needs to be conditioned on the 
restriction of a copyright-controlled right, but a contract has no such 
limitation. Note that this is the Nasa Open Source *Agreement*, not a 

> However, the real problem is that they would simply accept the implied
> offer from the government to have the software on public domain terms,
> and ignore your offer.

Not exactly. There is confusion with copyright again here. FOIA requires 
that things be made public, not that they be in the public domain. If 
the release is under the NOSA, then it is still public.

> I think you would need explicit acceptance of the contract before supply.

Not in the case of a unilateral contract.

> You also haven't mentioned the third requirement for a contract, which
> is "consideration". Either they have to give you something in return, or
> (English law - may differ in the USA) you have to sign and seal the
> contract as a deed.

There is consideration. The consideration is the code (on the 
Government's part) and the restrictions on future action (on the part of 
the person using the code). The rest of what you are talking about 
refers to bilateral contracts, which is not this.

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