[License-discuss] Government licenses

Brendan Hickey brendan.m.hickey at gmail.com
Tue May 28 19:48:29 UTC 2019

On Tue, May 28, 2019, 15:42 Smith, McCoy <mccoy.smith at intel.com> wrote:

> *>>From:* License-discuss [mailto:
> license-discuss-bounces at lists.opensource.org] *On Behalf Of *VanL
> *>>Sent:* Tuesday, May 28, 2019 12:32 PM
> *>>To:* license-discuss at lists.opensource.org
> *>>Subject:* [License-discuss] Government licenses
> >>As he described it, goverment-written code is all public domain.
> Unfortunately, the predominant effect of that public domain status for the
> code was that government contractors would take the code, make trivial
> modifications, and sell it back to >>the government under a proprietary
> license - which they were within their rights to do.
> But if it’s public domain, the government has no right to dictate how
> those modifications are subsequently licensed.  That’s sort of the whole
> point of public domain.

It's far more confusing than that. Works by the United States government
are in the public domain only in the United States.

"The prohibition on copyright protection for United States Government works
is not intended to have any effect on protection of these works abroad.
Works of the governments of most other countries are copyrighted. There are
no valid policy reasons for denying such protection to United States
Government works in foreign countries, or for precluding the Government
from making licenses for the use of its works abroad."

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