Federal Source Code Policy

1. Objectives

This policy will accomplish the following objectives:

  • Provide a policy to agencies19 on considerations that must be made prior to acquiring any custom-developed code;

  • Require agencies to obtain appropriate Government data rights to custom-developed code, including at a minimum, rights to Government-wide reuse and rights to modify the code. Agencies shall make such custom-developed code broadly available across the Federal Government, subject to limited exceptions;20

  • Require agencies to consider the value of publishing custom code as OSS;

  • Establish requirements for releasing custom-developed source code, including securing the rights necessary to make some custom-developed code releasable to the public as OSS under this policy’s new pilot program; and

  • Provide instructions and resources to facilitate implementation of this policy.


  • 19For the purposes of this policy, an agency is one that meets the definition of executive agency under the Clinger Cohen Act of 1996. See Appendix A.
  • 20See Section 6 of this policy for additional information about limited exceptions.