[License-discuss] Wrapping OSI licenses (UNCLASSIFIED)

Ben Hilburn bhilburn at gmail.com
Mon Feb 19 19:45:38 UTC 2018

Ah, thanks for the clarifications! And yes, I agree, those are fair points.


On Mon, Feb 19, 2018 at 2:38 PM, Tzeng, Nigel H. <Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu>

> On 2/19/18, 8:38 AM, "License-discuss on behalf of Ben Hilburn" <
> license-discuss-bounces at lists.opensource.org on behalf of
> bhilburn at gmail.com> wrote:
> Not sure I'm following your argument, here? If a party has been contracted
> by the government to write code, as part of contract negotiations the
> government can require that the code be delivered as FOSS. Especially with
> the recent changes in the NDAA, the government is clearly trying to push
> acquisition officers to be more knowledgeable about these things.
> My point was that there may be no contractor code at all and therefore
> there is no code under any sort of FOSS license, just public domain.
> Depending on the existence of contractor developed code under a FOSS
> license to make the entire code base FOSS doesn’t work in this case.
> The DDS policies posted online don't discuss patents much, aside from a
> bit in the license selection portion, "Our suggestions for permissive
> licenses are *MIT*, * ISC*, or *BSD-3* unless patents are potentially
> involved in which case we suggest Apache 2.0 although the others work too."
> I have no idea how intra-government but inter-org patent licensing works,
> though, so I don't have anything to add to this piece of the discussion.
> It's worth noting, though, that the broader open-source community has long
> dealt with the same question, "what if someone unknowingly implements a
> patent and publishes it under the Apache license," problem that you raise
> here; I don't think it's unique.
> The use of Apache 2.0 is problematic because it IS a fairly unique
> problem.  The issue is the USG as a single entity implies that a patent
> grant under Apache 2.0 provided by the ARL gives that patent away even if
> it was not created by the ARL but some other part of the federal government.
> Your scenario is different where the developers implements a patent
> someone else owns.  They don’t own the patent so the patent grant under
> Apache is meaningless.
> The only place that the broader open-source community has dealt with this
> issue is in the educational world which is why we have ECL v2.  Which is
> Apache with a patent grant only for those patents owned by the authors of
> the code.
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