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Re: Status of US Government Works in foreign countries



[ The following is the views of me, personally. They are not the views
  of either the Debian FTP Team, nor those of the US Federal Government,
  my employer ]

On Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 09:35:15PM +0100, Rytis wrote:
> US Goverment public domain issue has been discussed a few times in this
> mailing list [1]. According to the interpretation by [2], this would
> fall into public domain abroad as well and second part of the above
> licence snippet may be unenforceable.

So, I mean, the US Federal Government *can* hold copyrights of works
they have not created, and US Copyright does, in fact, carve out all
rights for works produced by the Federal Government outside the US.

Folks doing modern things in Government do something like[1]

> As a work of the United States Government, this project is in the public
> domain within the United States.
> 
> Additionally, we waive copyright and related rights in the work
> worldwide through the CC0 1.0 Universal public domain dedication.

[1]: https://github.com/department-of-veterans-affairs/caseflow/blob/master/LICENSE.md

Asking them to include such a notice would be neato. You can point them
to the work being done by 18F and USDS if you need to show them it's
fine.

FWIW, the Census people (I've interacted with them in the past) are real
cool.

> I wonder therefore whether it is legally sound to state licence as
> 'public-domain' for the package and include the licence and disclaimer
> text from the website. Would the package under this license qualify as
> free, non-free or should be outside Debian?

Yeah, so, most Government folks are actually nice. You should email them
and say that you're interested in using the data / software that's
distributed outside the strict boundries of the USA.

That being said, I've *never* heard of the US Government enforcing this,
ever. That's not to say someone won't think that's a fun idea. Because,
trust me, someone will.

If it weren't an ethics conflict, I'd even email them and ask myself.

> In my view, libtnt package in the main repo may be the one setting a
> precedent here as it refers to the same (17 U.S.C §105), although its

precedent is meaningless - if anything, it just means the other package
gets pulled along with the new one :P

> licence does not specify restrictions to foreign countries.
> 
> [1] https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2005/04/msg00164.html
> [2] https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2005/04/msg00300.html
> 
> Rytis
> 

Cheers,
  Paul

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