[License-discuss] [Non-DoD Source] Re: Government licenses

Karan, Cem F CIV USARMY CCDC ARL (USA) cem.f.karan.civ at mail.mil
Thu May 30 13:02:46 UTC 2019

For what it's worth, this is essentially the stance that the US Army Research Policy (ARL) makes in its own policy (disclaimer: I co-wrote ARL's policy); see https://github.com/USArmyResearchLab/ARL-Open-Source-Guidance-and-Instructions (note that ARL is in the process of reviewing and updating our policy, so that information is subject to change).

In essence, the portions of ARL's works that don't have copyright protections in the US are licensed under CC0 + a patent clause, and those portions of ARL's works that do have copyright protections in the US are licensed under an appropriate OSI-approved license.  To figure out which part is under which license, you need to dive through the repository history, which in effect puts the whole work under the OSI-approved license as trying to disentangle the parts would be more painful than either a) obeying the OSI-approved license, or b) rewriting the whole codebase from scratch under your own license.

The reason our stance is slightly different from code.mil is because we didn't want code to have its license changed depending on the jurisdiction it was being used in; our scheme means that the licensing is the same regardless of jurisdiction.

Cem Karan

> -----Original Message-----
> From: License-discuss [mailto:license-discuss-bounces at lists.opensource.org] On Behalf Of John Sullivan
> Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 4:39 PM
> To: license-discuss at lists.opensource.org
> Subject: [Non-DoD Source] Re: [License-discuss] Government licenses
> FSF and (I believe) OSI both worked with the US DOD / DDS to come up with one solution to these issues, which is published at <Caution-
> https://code.mil/>, further described at
> <Caution-https://github.com/Code-dot-mil/code.mil>:
> > 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.
> ..so far I know they have released projects under AGPLv3-or-later and GPLv3-or-later.
> -john
> --
> John Sullivan | Executive Director, Free Software Foundation GPG Key: A462 6CBA FF37 6039 D2D7 5544 97BA 9CE7 61A0 963B Caution-
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