[License-discuss] Possible alternative was: Re: U.S. Army Research Laboratory Open Source License (ARL OSL) Version 0.4.1

Richard Fontana fontana at sharpeleven.org
Wed Mar 1 14:37:13 UTC 2017

I really like the approach as it currently exists. But why is use of
CC0 necessary? If some work of the US government is in the public
domain by virtue of the Copyright Act, there is no need to use
CC0. Indeed, I would think use of CC0 by the Government is just as
problematic, or non-problematic, as the use of any open source
license, such as the Apache License 2.0. Strictly speaking, the use of
CC0 assumes that you have copyright ownership. 

Only noting this because the fact that OSI has not approved CC0 makes
this more complicated than the case where CC0 is not used at all. 

The code.mil folks discussed an earlier version of this approach with
the OSI. But this is the first I've heard of using CC0.


On Tue, Feb 28, 2017 at 04:23:12PM +0000, Karan, Cem F CIV USARMY RDECOM ARL (US) wrote:
> All, the folks at code.mil came up with what may be a really, really good 
> idea; see 
> https://github.com/deptofdefense/code.mil/blob/master/Proposal/CONTRIBUTING.md.
> The basic idea is simple; when the Government releases code, it's in the 
> public domain (likely CC0).  The project owners select an OSI-approved 
> license, and will only accept contributions to the project under their chosen 
> license[1].  Over time the code base becomes a mixture, some of which is under 
> CC0, and some of which is under the OSI-approved license.  I've talked with 
> ARL's lawyers, and they are satisfied with this solution.  Would OSI be happy 
> with this solution?  That is, would OSI recognize the projects as being truly 
> Open Source, right from the start?  The caveat is that some projects will be 
> 100% CC0 at the start, and can only use the chosen Open Source license on 
> those contributions that have copyright attached.  Note that Government 
> projects that wish to make this claim would have to choose their license and 
> announce it on the project site so that everyone knows what they are licensing 
> their contributions under, which is the way that OSI can validate that the 
> project is keeping its end of the bargain at the start.
> If this will satisfy OSI, then I will gladly withdraw the ARL OSL from 
> consideration.  If there are NASA or other Government folks on here, would 
> this solution satisfy your needs as well?
> Thanks,
> Cem Karan
> [1] There is also a form certifying that the contributor has the right to do 
> so, etc.  The Army Research Laboratory's is at 
> https://github.com/USArmyResearchLab/ARL-Open-Source-Guidance-and-Instructions/blob/master/ARL%20Form%20-%20266.pdf, 
> and is, unfortunately, only able to be opened in Adobe Acrobat.  We're working 
> to fix that, but there are other requirements that will take some time.

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