Subject: Re: Software as a public service
From: Alan Hudson <>
Date: Thu, 12 May 2005 08:10:55 -0700

Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:

>>>>>>"Frank" == Frank Hecker <> writes:
>    Frank> I should have noted that this is for contractor-developed
>    Frank> software for which the contractor retains
>    Frank> copyright. However even for software for which the
>    Frank> copyright is assigned to a US government agency (or for
>    Frank> that matter, government-developed software with no
>    Frank> copyright) the agency is not necessarily obligated to
>    Frank> release it to the general public.
>Well, the hypothesis is that the FOI Act is applicable.  My concern is
>that even that might not be much help for the purpose of leveraging
>government-funded software into the open source sector.
I'm not sure it will accomplish what you want.  The right to view 
software does not give you a license to reuse the code.  Ie it might 
help with making file-formats compatible, but I doubt it would let you 
re-use the code.  Useful, but not as useful as a law that says 
publically funded code is licensed under blah...  Or do you think the 
FOI Act could be used to give access to reuse?

We've been working with our Navy contracts to basically allow duel 
licensing.  The code becomes one of several open source licenses, but we 
retain copyright.  In theory this would allow use to make further 
improvements that would not have to be returned to the original client.  
Ie the government/public get free usage of what was developed on their 
dime, but if we add further improvements later then we decide how its used.

I'd like to see this codified.  Its becoming local practice at some 
levels, but its certainly not agreed upon across the board.