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From Christopher <ctubb...@apache.org>
Subject Suggested license mod or FAQ
Date Wed, 21 Dec 2016 22:14:50 GMT
Hi all,

The following is just something I was thinking about recently watching all
the activity around the U.S. Government and open source. (see code.gov and
related GitHub activities)

There still seem to be a lot of questions about how open source licenses
pertain to Federal Employees coding on behalf of government, and domestic
copyright.

For comparison, the Fedora Project Contributor Agreement seems to have a
very useful note in paragraph 4 (
https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Legal:Fedora_Project_Contributor_Agreement)
about US Gov copyright.

I'm not a lawyer, but as far as I can tell, this isn't a *necessary*
clause.... it seems to me that any non-applicable clause of a license would
simply be non-applicable, whether it is stated explicitly or not, and any
copyright license restrictions cannot be binding for something which is
public domain. However, it does seem to be *useful* to have such a clause,
to answer questions from confused government types who want to pick a
license for their open source projects, and which may have a mix of
government and other contributions.

So, *if* there were ever an 'Apache License, 2.1', I think it'd be worth
considering adding a similar clause, either specifically addressing 17
U.S.C. 105 public domain, or something less US-centric which still clearly
addresses that case.

In the meantime, it might be useful to note something about this on the
license FAQs (http://www.apache.org/foundation/license-faq.html).

What do you think?

-- 
Christopher

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