[OSGeo-Discuss] Software Copyright ownership

Brian Russo brian at beruna.org
Sun Feb 14 13:44:56 PST 2010

Can you give an example of some osgeo software that is a concern for
US export controls?

I'm having trouble thinking of any, since encryption isn't really a
big factor in most GIS software. Even if it is a component of the
software, as long as those encryption components reside outside of it
in openssl or similar - while it is an inconvenience - it can be
handled the same way this matter has been for years.
Distribute/produce the software inside the US without the encryption -
and then foreigners can obtain openssl from outside the US.. compile
the software, etc.

There are probably some GIS software packages that would fall under
the EAR, but since they meet the GSN requirements for being 'generally
available to the public', they are exempted 15 CFR §734.7(b). Likewise
even if there was a non-encryption product that somewhere fell under
ITAR, it is also exempt 22 CFR §125.1(a) since open source software is
in what ITAR considers accessibility in the public domain.

There's still of course the matter of places like North Korea/other
embargoed nations, but unless you're actively initiating such specific
transfers then there's no concern since the EAR language that I'm
aware of refers to 'downloading or causing the downloading...'.

 - bri

On Sun, Feb 14, 2010 at 7:33 AM, Frank Warmerdam <warmerdam at pobox.com> wrote:
> Arnulf Christl (aka Seven) wrote:
>> Cleaning up an older thread...
>>> From what I gather from the lists there seems to be no broad opinion in
>> favor of making projects move their copyright under the hood of OSGeo.
>> With the recent discussion of potential export restriction enforcement
>> by incorporated organizations incorporated in USA the the need for a
>> more global organization seems to be higher. I am frankly at a loss at
>> where such an organization would be incorporated and what it could look
>> like but if it existed I would very much like to support it. If anyone
>> has a great idea what a truly global OSGeo should look like please speak
>> up.
>> We should spend some thought on copyright every time we admit and
>> evaluate projects in incubation. My personal experience shows that
>> having the copyright of Open Source projects completely under the hood
>> of a community owned organization is a good thing. Everything else is
>> messy. The messy bit only shows when things go wrong so lets keep
>> fingers crossed and as long as nothing happens we'll all be fine.
> Arnulf,
> I'm not sure I see the connection between the "who holds copyright"
> issue, and the "US export controls" issue.  To me, centralized copyright
> is primarily helpful when relicensing, or ensuring we have the right to
> pursue legal action against someone using one of our projects in a fashion
> that is contrary to the license.
> I haven't yet come to any conclusions what to do about the US export control
> problem.  One thing that was expressed in the past in a discussion of this
> problem (perhaps on foundations list) is that many US export controls are a
> reflection of international convenants on the export of weapons and possibly
> weapons related technologies that have also been signed by most other major
> nations.  As such, the US just seems to have more organized enforcement, and
> we might at some point expect some similar enforcement in other nations.
> I'm not sure exactly how true this is - I suspect there is a lot of leeway
> in how things are classified, and enforced.
> Best regards,
> --
> ---------------------------------------+--------------------------------------
> I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam,
> warmerdam at pobox.com
> light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam
> and watch the world go round - Rush    | Geospatial Programmer for Rent
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