OSS and the U.S. DoD - Questions and Answers
I’ve just posted Questions and Answers for 2008 “Open Source Software and DoD” Webinar. These are my attempts to answer the questions people sent me at my February “Open Source Software (OSS) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)” Some of the questions were easy to answer, but some were surprisingly difficult. In some cases, I asked lawyers and got conflicting answers. But this is the best information that I could find on the topic.
For example, I explain in detail why In particular, it appears fairly clear that both the government and government contractors can release their results as open source software under the default DoD contract terms for software development (DFARS contracting clause 252.227-7014):
I also point out that even when the government isn’t the copyright holder, if it releases software under an OSS license it can still enforce its license. That’s because, even when it’s not the copyright holder, it can still enforce the license… and because the doctrine of unclean hands will impact those who refuse to obey the license.
Several people had questions about software developed by a government employee (which can’t be copyrighted in the U.S.) and how that impacts OSS. The short impact is that there’s no problem; government employees can still contribute to OSS projects, for example. I also discuss some of the export control issues (especially ITAR), and how to address them.
If there are mistakes, please let me know. Thanks!
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