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Re: Concerns about works created by the US government

Henning Makholm writes:

> Scripsit Florian Weimer <fw@deneb.enyo.de>
>> * Sami Liedes:
>>> This certainly seems to make the works effectively PD in the US;
>>> however it almost seems as if that was carefully worded to _not_ place
>>> works in the PD, only to make the US government unable to enforce
>>> their copyright under the US law.
>> AFAIK, this is indeed the standard interpretation:
> Hm, do we have anything in Debian with a "this is U.S. government
> work, so copyright does not apply to it" license status? I seem to
> remember that -legal once concluded that it was as good as "public
> domain", but I cannot find it in the archives.

You may be thinking of libtnt-dev.  NIST's disclaimer[0] for
downloading it is pretty clear that it is in the public domain:

    This software was developed at the National Institute of Standards
    and Technology (NIST) by employees of the Federal Government in
    the course of their official duties. Pursuant to title 17 Section
    105 of the United States Code this software is not subject to
    copyright protection and is in the public domain.

The US Copyright Office's Circular 1[1] is less expansive, merely
repeating the comment earlier that US Government works are not
eligible for US copyright protection.  On the other hand, the Patent
and Trademark Office[2] says that they are in the public domain but
with limitations as detailed in 17 USC 403 (where attribution by the
copyright holder is required to prosecute infringement of works
consistent "predominantly" of works created by the US Government).

Last December, based on the relevant portion of the Copyright Act, a
Florida Court of Appeals held[3] that a government official simply may
not claim copyright in a work created for government use.

[0]- from http://math.nist.gov/tnt/download.html
[1]- http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html
[2]- http://www.uspto.gov/main/ccpubguide.htm
[3]- http://www.rcfp.org/news/2004/1209microd.html

Michael Poole

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