Government work does not mean that the work is public.

17 Apr 2004 - 3:36pm
10 years ago
1 reply
514 reads
Juhan Sonin
2003

Government work does not mean that work is public. Regardless of data
sensitivity, the project belongs to the government agency.. and the IP
and client should be respected. Only with specific permission from the
agency should the results be published or housed on publically
available web space.

Yours,
Juhan

>If the US Government hires you to do the work, and if the spec is a
>deliverable part of the work, it is not *your* IP but the
government's.
>As
>long as its content is not sensitive, I don't know of any reason why
it
>could not be publicly avaiilable. I have been on projects where
>documents
>were posted on the web -- primarily for team review, but they were not

>hidden from the public.

>Elizabeth

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Comments

20 Apr 2004 - 2:42pm
Elizabeth Buie
2004

Juhan's point is right on target. And it brings me back to the original
question, and to the other questions that the thread raised.

The question of who owns the spec was originally raised in the context of
a discussion of whether you have the right to show it to a potential
employer or client as part of your portfolio. As I recall, the topic of
publishing it was a side point that I brought up just as an example of
what can be done with some (some!) US Government documents because they
are not copyrighted.

I see five questions here:

1. Who owns the spec?
2. Can you show it to an individual? (say, a potential employer/client)
3. Can you make it public?
4. Should you show it to an individual?
5. Should you make it public?

It seems to me that some of the disagreements we've been having in this
thread arise from treating these all as the same question.

1. Several people stated that the company that developed the spec owns it.
My original post on this topic pointed out that this is not necessarily
so. If the spec has been developed as a deliverable product under a
contract, it (probably) belongs to the client rather than to the company
that wrote it.

The answers to the rest assume that you are not the owner. If you are the
owner, the answers are "yes". :-)

2. Requires the permission of the owner.

3. Requires the permission of the owner. My original comment about
government documents related to the lack of copyright, and to the fact
that in those cases copyright alone does not prevent you from making them
public.

The answers to 4 & 5 assume that you have the required permission.

4. I'd think it depends on the sensitivity of the content. It strikes me
that showing documents to individuals is much less problematic than
posting them on the Web, especially if you take them with you when you
leave the interview.

5. My take is: Only if it serves the needs of the document's owner.

Elizabeth

P.S. In the project I mentioned where documents were posted -- yes, it
was with the agency's knowledge and agreement, hosted on the agency's
server. (A usability test plan is still there, in fact... ten years
later. :-)

--
Elizabeth Buie
Computer Sciences Corporation
Rockville, Maryland
301.921.3326

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Juhan Sonin <juhansonin
@yahoo.com>
Sent by: discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces
04/17/04 16:36

To:
discuss-interactiondesigners.com at lists.interactiondesigners.com
cc:
Subject: [ID Discuss] Government work does not mean that
the work is public.

Government work does not mean that work is public. Regardless of data
sensitivity, the project belongs to the government agency.. and the IP
and client should be respected. Only with specific permission from the
agency should the results be published or housed on publically
available web space.

Yours,
Juhan

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