Too bad to check: HHS stole web scripting for Healthcare.gov?
posted at 3:01 pm on October 17, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
So says our friend Jeryl Bier at The Weekly Standard, and so does the apparent victim of the copyright infringement:
Healthcare.gov, the federal government’s Obamacare website, has been under heavy criticism from friend and foe alike during its first two weeks of open enrollment. Repeated errors and delays have prevented many users from even establishing an account, and outside web designers have roundly panned the structure and coding of the site as amateurish and sloppy. The latest indication of the haphazard way in which Healthcare.gov was developed is the uncredited use of a copyrighted web script for a data function used by the site, a violation of the licensing agreement for the software.
The script in question is called DataTables, a very long and complex piece of website software used for formatting and presenting data. DataTables was developed by a British company called SpryMedia which licenses the open-source software freely to anyone who complies with the licensing agreement. A note at the bottom of the DataTables.net website says: “DataTables designed and created by SpryMedia © 2008-2013.” The company explains the license for using the software on that website [emphasis added]:
DataTables is free, open source software that you can download and use for whatever purpose you wish, on any and as many sites you want. It is free for you to use! DataTables is available under two licenses: GPL v2 license or a BSD (3-point) license, with which you must comply (to do this, basically keep the copyright notices in the software).
They didn’t, though, and now Spry Media says they will take this up with HHS, and possibly their attorneys. Be sure to read the rest of Jeryl’s post for why the theft is blatant and obvious. But here’s a question to ponder as you do: does Spry Media really want to claim partial ownership of the worst web rollout in history?