This is governed by FAR Subpart 27.4, Rights in Data and Copyright, which provides copyright guidance for the civilian agencies and NASA. Additionally, some agencies may have their own FAR Supplements that they follow.
Under the FAR general data rights clause (FAR 52.227-14), the government has unlimited rights in all data first produced in performance of or delivered under a contract, unless the contractor asserts a claim to copyright or the contract provides otherwise. Unless provided otherwise by an Agency FAR Supplement, a contractor may assert claim to copyright in scientific and technical articles based on or containing data first produced in the performance of a contract and published in academic, technical or professional journals, symposia proceedings, or the like. The express written permission of the Contracting Officer is required before the contractor may assert or enforce the copyright in all other works first produced in the performance of a contract. However, if a contract includes Alternate IV of the clause, the Contracting Officer's approval is not required to assert claim to copyright. Whenever the contractor asserts claim to copyright in works other than computer software, the Government, and others acting on its behalf, are granted a license to reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute, perform and display the copyrighted work. For computer software the scope of the Government's license does not include the right to distribute to the public, and for "commercial software", the Government typically obtains no better license than would any other customer.
Thus, if you get retention of copyright rights you can sell to others commercially. If your contract does not take the rights from you, then you can sell it to anyone you like.
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Thanks for the answer.
Please give me some time. I need to go through the contract to make sure I understand things correctly. I hope you can understand.
I would reply by tomorrow.
We do not have anything about Intellectual Property (IP) rights or any alternate clause mentioned in the contract. So do we have to specifically request/assert IP rights/copyrights from the contracting officer to sell it to the other government agencies and in commerical markets? If yes, is a simple email or written letter consent from the contracting officer enough for securing the copyrights through assertion?
I would also like to bring to your notice US Code > TITLE 41 - PUBLIC CONTRACTS > CHAPTER 7 - OFFICE OF FEDERAL PROCUREMENT POLICY > § 403.12 in which the last item in the definition of Commercial item says that it should be developed at private expense. But here it is not. So does that mean even after getting the copyrights we would not be able to call it a commercial item? If no, then how will we sell it in commercial markets?
Lastly, lets say the contracting officer does not give us the copyrights. In that case, how can we sell that software product to other government agencies or in commercial markets.
ok. Could you help me with the rest of the two parts as below?
Now if we dont have the copyrights, thats means we have no way to sell the same software. Should we must re-write the same software code from scratch to sell to others. Can you confirm.
Also, If we get the copyrights, what does the last section of Commercial Items definition in § 403.12 imply?
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