[License-discuss] Government licenses

VanL van.lindberg at gmail.com
Tue May 28 19:54:54 UTC 2019

On Tue, May 28, 2019 at 2:42 PM 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.

Yes - they had no right under *copyright.* But that doesn't mean that they
didn't have a legitimate reason to reach for other tools - in this case,
contract law - to try to accomplish their goals.

But like I said, I don't have a dog in this fight. I just happened to know
the backstory for NOSA from the original source. In this case, the
motivation was something that was not too far off from what motivated other
copyleft licenses. I just thought that this background could help inform
the discussion.

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