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From "Roy T. Fielding" <field...@gbiv.com>
Subject Re: [Non-DoD Source] Suggested license mod or FAQ
Date Thu, 19 Jan 2017 03:13:47 GMT
> On Jan 6, 2017, at 6:33 AM, Karan, Cem F CIV USARMY RDECOM ARL (US) <cem.f.karan.civ@mail.mil>
> Hi, my name is Cem Karan, and I'm one of those Government employees that Chris 
> was talking about.  Is it also possible to clarify the definition of Licensor 
> in clause 1?  As a Government employee, my works are in the public domain, so 
> there is no copyright holder.  I'd hate to have one of my contributions cause 
> headaches because of that.
> Thanks,
> Cem Karan

FWIW, I don't know why government lawyers can't read the civil code


and figure out that "Copyright protection under this title is not
available for any work of the United States Government" is not the
same as saying government employees are incapable of owning copyright.
The work they are paid to do on behalf of USG (or related to their
government job) is in the public domain.  The rest of their work
(the boundaries of which we have no means to assess) might or might
not be in the public domain.

Regardless, it isn't possible for one of your contributions to cause
us headaches when it is entirely in the public domain.  By definition,
that means nobody has the standing in which to cause such a headache,
nobody can successfully file suit (at least under copyright), and
thus no court case can proceed.

The danger for headaches comes from other people who might claim
(truly or not) to own the copyright in spite of the work's origin.
There's not much we can do in the license about that.

There are no plans to make any further changes to the Apache License.
As mentioned previously, a person concerned about the applicability
of the license to a public domain work can simply add that "the
license's copyright terms only apply to the extent that copyright
is actually owned or licensable by the Contributors".  That statement
can be placed anywhere you like outside the license itself.

The reason that isn't said in the license is because the copyright
terms merely provide a permission that isn't needed without copyright.
It is completely irrelevant whether they apply to any given piece
of work in the public domain.


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