[License-discuss] [Non-DoD Source] Re: US Army Research Laboratory Open Source License proposal

Gervase Markham gerv at mozilla.org
Mon Jul 25 15:19:31 UTC 2016

On 25/07/16 16:12, Karan, Cem F CIV USARMY RDECOM ARL (US) wrote:
> Protections from liability from anyone that uses our code, for one thing.  I 
> am not a lawyer, but as I understand it putting stuff in the public domain 
> does not release you from liability, so without some kind of notice the USG 
> could be sued because bugs cause a crash at some point, causing harm, etc., 
> etc., etc.  The 'no warranty' clause is something we have to have.  In fact, 
> if you read the CC0 license text 
> (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/legalcode), even it has a 
> warranty disclaimer, and it is trying to waive all copyright to the maximum 
> extent possible.

But a "no warranty" clause is a disclaimer, not a license condition.
AFAICS (and IANAL) nothing prevents a USG institution sticking some
source code on a web page, along with a big fat warranty disclaimer,
which would have legal force. You don't have to own the copyright in
code to disclaim warranty over it when you give it someone. If I give
you some open source code I didn't write, I can still disclaim all
warranty in it as I give it to you, and that disclaimation (a word?)
should be valid. So even if USG has no copyright on this code in the
USA, you can still put a warranty disclaimer up.

Everyone else has copyright, and so will be contributing under the
Apache license, and so the warranty disclaimer in that will apply to
their contributions. So everyone's covered.


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