[License-discuss] [Non-DoD Source] Re: NOSA 2.0, Copyfraud and the US Government

Marc Jones marc at joneslaw.io
Thu Aug 31 18:04:55 UTC 2017


Has your organization considered using the approach that the Defense
Digital Service is taking. It seems like their use of a INTENT file that
clearly calls out the fact that the code written by federal employees as
not being subject to copyright would address the "copyfraud" concern.

> Licensing Intent
> The intent is that this software and documentation ("Project") should be
treated as if it is licensed under the license associated with the Project
("License") in the LICENSE.md file. However, because we are part of the
United States (U.S.) Federal Government, it is not that simple.
> The portions of this Project written by United States (U.S.) Federal
government employees within the scope of their federal employment are
ineligible for copyright protection in the U.S.; this is generally
understood to mean that these portions of the Project are placed in the
public domain.
> In countries where copyright protection is available (which does not
include the U.S.), contributions made by U.S. Federal government employees
are released under the License. Merged contributions from private
contributors are released under the License.

In regards to the second issue, if I recall your organization has expressed
pretty strongly that they prefer to have a license approved by OSI before
regarding it as "open source." I do not mean to rehash the argument that
OSI does not have any right to control the use of the phrase "open source."
So I will leave that aside.

But to take your concern seriously I did recently encounter a situation
where a client's funding was dependent on releasing the software under a
"open source license as defined by the Open Source Initiative or as Free
Software as defined by the Free Software Foundation." Perhaps if your
organization is facing a similar situation and they are looking for a
external arbitrator of what counts as FOSS, they should consider looking at
other lists of FOSS licenses. Creative Commons  is listed as a "free
software" license by the Free Software Foundation. So in that situation if
they wanted to use CCO I would probably argue 1) you can use public domain
software in a "Open source" licensed under a OSI approved license, as DDS
is asserting. And 2) CC0 is considered "free software" by FSF.  (

Not sure if reframing the issue in those terms is an option for your


On Tue, Aug 29, 2017 at 4:45 PM Karan, Cem F CIV USARMY RDECOM ARL (US) <
cem.f.karan.civ at mail.mil> wrote:

> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: License-discuss [mailto:license-discuss-bounces at opensource.org] On
> > Behalf Of Tzeng, Nigel H.
> > Sent: Tuesday, August 29, 2017 2:32 PM
> > To: license-discuss at opensource.org
> > Subject: Re: [License-discuss] [Non-DoD Source] Re: NOSA 2.0, Copyfraud
> and
> > the US Government
> >
> > CC has to submit CC0 according to tradition/rules. For them to bother,
> since
> > they won't amend CC0 itself, probably there needs to be
> > some assurance it will at least get a vote at the next board meeting, if
> not
> > assurance it would pass.
> >
> > Neither seems likely.
> >
> > Easier to just to shrug their shoulders and ignore the whole OSI approval
> > thing.
> Well, that's a pain.  In that case, unless NOSA 2.0 gets approved, I
> suspect
> that at least some Government code is going to be zombie code, partly Open
> Source and partly CC0.
> Thanks,
> Cem Karan
> _______________________________________________
> License-discuss mailing list
> License-discuss at opensource.org
> https://lists.opensource.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/license-discuss
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-discuss_lists.opensource.org/attachments/20170831/6ee31802/attachment.html>

More information about the License-discuss mailing list