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Lol like anyone in this field cares about copyrights. It is like suggesting that North Korea cannot build nuclear bombs because doing so would infringe US patents. Some things are above IP rules.

Think about it. Having the code copyrighted, would leave a paper trail.

Not really; copyright is mostly implicit. If US law made all code developed for the purposes of the CIA automatically copyrighted, the code would be copyrighted. Right now the law says it isn't, so it isn't.

Having code be copyrighted does not require any explicit registration.

Yes and no. The law says that works of federal government employees arent to be protected. But it is unclear whether this only applies within the US or whether the US governmemt can assert those copyrights against non-us entities. It's a constitutional question never clearly addressed. Also, these tools could easily be the work of contractors rather than government employees. The fed can own/purchase/assert copyrights in such works. We do not have enough facts to say they are surely public domain.

Perhaps what parent meant was that exclusive use of the code by agency would lead to easy post attack origin analysis, so by leaking the code in obfuscated form a few other people inevitably stumble on it and use it which generates a form of cover traffic for the original agents.

And "pirating" copyrighted code doesn't either, so they'd have no way of knowing anyway. Basically, anyone who would use this would likely wouldn't care if its classified or not and copyrighted or not.

This is TOTALLY wrong.... All code developed by US Governement is PUBLIC DOMAIN.

The correct part is a work does not have to be registered to have copyright protection. You are also correct that works created by the U.S. federal government do not have copyright protection, they're in the public domain. However, and I think the post you're responding implies this, copyright protected work may be licensed by the federal government without losing its copyright and I think in at least some circumstances works can by created by contract for the federal government and retain copyright protection.

I don't think I've followed the larger point, I don't see how copyright is relevant to the production or dissemination of malware.

Copyright is an intrinsic property of a work in every legislation I have ever heard of.

What's the mechanism for that?

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