[License-review] License Committee Report - for board meeting of 2013-11-06 [NASA, EUPL, and Tidepool]

Tzeng, Nigel H. Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu
Thu Jun 26 12:10:36 UTC 2014

I guess the easiest resolution would be to add "without the explicit permission from the Government Agency or Contributor."  to the end of the block.

Or simply to ignore it since your corner case is highly unlikely to ever occur in the real world.  The number of non-NASA contributors to a NOSA project that is not another government agency or contractor for a governmental agency approaches zero. 

In any case, which open source requirement is violated even if the existing wording is unchanged?  A question you've sidestepped twice.  


From: license-review-bounces at opensource.org [license-review-bounces at opensource.org] On Behalf Of Richard Fontana [fontana at sharpeleven.org]
Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 10:20 PM
To: License submissions for OSI review
Subject: Re: [License-review] License Committee Report - for board meeting of 2013-11-06 [NASA, EUPL, and Tidepool]

Regarding the submittted NASA Open Source Agreement 2.0

NOSA 2.0 section 3F says:

  F. You may not make any representation in the Subject Software or in
  any promotional, advertising or other material that may be construed
  as an endorsement by Government Agency or by any other Contributor or
  recipient of any product or service provided by You, or that may seek
  to obtain commercial advantage of Government Agency's or any other
  recipient’s participation in this Agreement

I wrote on 31 October 2013:

> 3F: What if non-NASA Contributor A or non-NASA recipient B, allow me
> to say that they endorse a product or service provided by me: am I
> violating NASA's license? As drafted this seems to be possible under
> 3F, yet it would be an absurd and unfair result.

Bryan Geurts writes:

> Paragraph 3F is a requirement imposed by NASA's charter Statute, the
> Space Act, where it states:  "No person . . . may knowingly use the
> words "National Aeronautics and Space Administration" or the letters
> "NASA", or any combination, variation, or colorable imitation of
> those words or letters either alone or in combination with other
> words or letters . . . in connection with any product or service
> being offered or made available to the public in a manner reasonably
> calculated to convey the impression that the product or service has
> the authorization, support, sponsorship, or endorsement of, or the
> development, use, or manufacture by or on behalf of the
> Administration which does not, in fact, exist."  See 51 USC
> §20141(a).

Right. But I don't see where in that provision it says that NASA is
required or expected to enforce it in contracts or licenses authored by
NASA -- to which NASA might not even be a party, perhaps not involving
entities or acts within the US. Also subsection (b) already creates a
public remedy to police conduct that violates (a).

> Other federal agencies have a similar restriction in
> their charter statutes.  This same restriction is found in NOSA 1.3,
> Paragraph 3E.  Since the NOSA is designed to govern software created
> by an agency with such a restriction against endorsement, such a
> prohibition is required.

Required by what? 51 USC 20141(a) doesn't say "all agreements that NASA
might play some role in drafting must be sure to contain a contractual
prohibition against the conduct that is prohibited in this
provision" (which NASA might not even be able to enforce). It can't
mean that all licenses to which NASA is a party must contain such a

51 USC 20141(a) appears to be a prohibition against acts by persons
other than NASA, not a prohibition against action or non-action by NASA.

> If you or any other non-government agency
> entity wishes to endorse a product or service not related to a
> government agency, you are free to do so.  I don't see how this
> restriction could be construed or interpreted any differently.

Because it isn't limited to "Government Agency". It says "by Government
Agency or by any other Contributor" and "... commercial advantage of
Government Agency's or any other recipient’s participation".

 - Richard

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