US Government Works Still Protected Internationally
Recently on debian-legal
whether you may freely distribute works created by a US government
entity in other countries than the US. Well, I've asked a guy working
on international copyright law, and unfortunately the answer was
"no". Even though these works do not enjoy copyright protection in
the US, they are still protected in other countries.
In international copyright law there is the so-called "principle of
is also required by the Berne
and similar international treaties, so any country that has signed it
has to respect this principle. It means that in any state party to
these treaties US nationals (and thus US government entities) enjoy
the same rights as local citizen under domestic law. Since in
copyright law, these rights involve the exclusive right to distribute,
modify, and create derivative works, we are not allowed to do all
these things we normally love to do in the free world.
So, if you are working on an open content project and think about
using works of US government institutions, don't do it. It's a
Copyright 2006--2011 Hendrik Weimer. This document is available under
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