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In general, in the USA, anything that the US federal government makes is public domain copyright wise. For the NSA, there are obvious laws on secrecy for most of what it's doing, but they are different to copyright. Also, sometimes the US government is letting contractors write the software and if they license it, it obviously won't be public domain but the specific contractor will hold copyright.

This question has been explained a bit in a blog post by the pentagon [1]:

> While all of the work done by Federal employees remains in the public domain with no restrictions, public contributors enjoy the protections of widely adopted free and open source licenses. As projects mature, the aggregate work — with all the patches, bug fixes, and additional features — will fall under the license associated with the project.

[1]: https://medium.com/@DefenseDigitalService/code-mil-an-open-s...




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