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Re: NEC Licence (Work of US Gov. Employees)

Raul writes:
> The fundamental question is: does this governmental work meet DFSG

I don't believe that I have ever disputed that.

> Secondly, 17 USC 103 isn't the right section. Let's start with 17 USC
> 105:

I already cited that.

> In other words, there's no limits on distribution, modification, etc.

Right.  The author is forbidden to enforce its copyright.  No one else has
any standing to do so.  You have no rights to the material: you cannot sue
people who make copies without your permission.  Neither can anyone else,
so everybody is free to do as they please with it.  Your distribution of
copies of the material with a license attached cannot change that fact.

Public domain works are ones to which *no one* owns any rights and
therefore no one can sue you for making copies of them.  The report you
cite implies that the Congress intended that works of the US Government be
treated as if they were in the public domain (I wish they had said so in so
many words in the law).

When you distribute copies of such a work under the GPL you are claiming
that you have the right to sue people for making copies of it.  You don't.

The law is not about to let you take material to which you own no rights,
attach a license to it, and enforce that license.
John Hasler
john@dhh.gt.org (John Hasler)
Dancing Horse Hill
Elmwood, WI

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