For Approval: TVA Open Source License

Carroll, James Ritchie jrcarrol at
Fri Sep 11 18:04:13 UTC 2009

Thank you so much for your detailed and witty responses, hopefully the following will clear up some of your questions:

1) TVA, as a government entity, cannot hold a copyright per Title 17 U.S. Code. As such section 3B of the agreement states the following must appear prominently in the software:

	No copyright is claimed pursuant to 17 USC § 105.  All Other Rights Reserved.

Note that this differs from the NASA agreement which wants the copyright statement listed as follows:

	Copyright 2009 United States Government as represented by the Tennessee Valley Authority. No copyright claimed in the United States under Title 17 U.S. Code. All Other Rights Reserved.

Our counsel chose the more concise copyright statement since no copyright can be held by TVA and the NASA clause seems to insinuate some kind of copyright when in fact there is none.

2)  Although Mr. Rosen is likely correct in his interpretation about section 3G (it's certainly convincing to me), the fact remains that there is considerable documentation on the web about the NOSA not being "free software" because of said clause. TVA wants to make sure that are no prevailing issues, real or perceived, in the adoption of its software. As a result, the text "believed to be Contributor's original creation and" has been removed from section 3G of the original NOSA text.

These two items create the primary deviation from the NOSA. Additionally there is a third difference in section 4B which attempts to further indemnify not only TVA, but its contractors and employees. This is a required addition from TVA counsel.

Given that these changes are important to TVA, we cannot adopt the standard NASA agreement as-is. Regardless, I am very hopeful that this community can give this agreement their stamp of approval at least as a "special purpose license".

Thanks again for your time and consideration of this agreement.

J. Ritchie Carroll

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