Subject: Re: A few here may have an opinion on this
From: Peter Wayner <pcw2@flyzone.com>
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2002 20:35:49 -0400

At 12:01 AM -0700 10/24/02, Brian Behlendorf wrote:
>On Thu, 24 Oct 2002 chrismaeda@attbi.com wrote:
>>  An interesting followup question is what do you
>>  think of govt funding proprietary software research?
>
>I have heard, correct me if I'm wrong, that the Goverment cannot itself
>hold copyright; thus I would assume that any software actually written by
>a government employee on the clock would essentially be public domain, and
>anyone could pick it up and use it.  That sounds too good to be true
>though... if it's not true, though, that would be a great thing to lobby
>for.


This goes back to some Supreme Court cases in the 1890s focusing, I 
think, on court opinions. Nothing that comes from the US government 
can be copyrighted. Everyone paid for it so, in a sense, everyone 
owns a piece of the copyright.

I guess that would mean that any enhancements to the GPL code would 
make everyone happy because:

1) It could all be rolled into the GPL distribution because there was 
no limitation on distributing the new code

and

2) Anyone who could isolate the code could use it in products without 
obeying the GPL. If they cleansed it of GPLed stuff, it would be as 
free as possible.

At least that's my interpretation.

-Peter