This article is also posted to my Intelink blog.
Every so often, a government project manager asks me a question like this:
I’m looking to hire some government guys and I’m interested in young folks hacking on [my project].
So, here’s my predicament: if they work on the code, their work becomes ‘public domain’ and not something that could be restricted by licenses (at least according to some legal advice I’ve been given). If the work is the in public domain, I have no way of ensuring that someone won’t take the code and sell it back to the government as their own (because they could modify it and put a proprietary seal on it).
Here’s my question: is there some legal structures that can be put in place to restrict modification, use and distribution like typical software licenses for government-created works?
Here’s some ways this has been done before. Continue reading