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From "Karan, Cem F CIV USARMY RDECOM ARL (US)" <cem.f.karan....@mail.mil>
Subject RE: [Non-DoD Source] Suggested license mod or FAQ
Date Tue, 03 Jan 2017 13:34:09 GMT
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Christopher [mailto:ctubbsii@apache.org]
> Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 5:15 PM
> To: legal-discuss@apache.org
> Subject: [Non-DoD Source] Suggested license mod or FAQ
> 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 < Caution-http://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 (Caution-
> https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Legal:Fedora_Project_Contributor_Agreement < 
> Caution-
> 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 (Caution-
> http://www.apache.org/foundation/license-faq.html < 
> Caution-http://www.apache.org/foundation/license-faq.html > ).
> What do you think?

As one of those confused US Government employees, I would *definitely* like to 
see some clarity here!  One of my major concerns is severability 
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Severability).  Assume that the US Government 
(USG) licenses some work under the ASL 2.0.  ASL 2.0 depends on copyright, 
which most USG works don't have within the USA.  Could a US court find that 
the license *as a whole* is void on the USG works because of this?  That could 
open up a real can of worms, not just the USG, but for anyone that has 
downloaded the code for their own use.

Cem Karan

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