[License-review] Submission of OSET Public License for Approval

Lawrence Rosen lrosen at rosenlaw.com
Fri Sep 11 16:54:29 UTC 2015

Nigel and Josh,

Copyright has nothing to do with "sovereign immunity." 

What you refer to is merely the inability of the U.S. federal government to claim copyright in works created by its government employees in the course and scope of their employment. This applies to all such writings, even software and court decisions. 17 U.S.C. 105: "Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise."

The important concern that some of us are raising is the wording in the OSET license that allows government agencies anywhere to ignore the demands of the election software license based on their own criteria. That goes way too far.

It is appropriate for the software community to work with government agencies on security, export restrictions, even on industry standards for elections software. Members of CAVO are already very active in those forums. 

GPL plays in that environment very well already. Again the leading example is Linux.


-----Original Message-----
From: Josh Berkus [mailto:josh at postgresql.org] 
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2015 8:47 AM
To: License submissions for OSI review <license-review at opensource.org>; Meeker, Heather J. <hmeeker at omm.com>
Subject: Re: [License-review] Submission of OSET Public License for Approval

On 09/11/2015 10:11 AM, Tzeng, Nigel H. wrote:
> I was under the impression that most governments were at least 
> somewhat immune to copyright issues because of sovereign immunity.  I 
> don¹t think any license really protects against this regardless of the terms.
> I guess someone with standing could still sue for injunctive relief 
> but doesn¹t strike me as likely.

Only national governments.  With that wording, even a *city* government could pass a law to make license restrictions inapplicable.

--Josh Berkus

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