Fwd: [geo-discuss] copyright not applicable to geodata?

Piergiorgio Cipriano pg.cipriano at gmail.com
Tue Apr 3 08:24:48 UTC 2007

Second trial (my message "Re: [geo-discuss] copyright not applicable to
geodata?" has been rejected by the list moderator: "... too big for the
mailing list (the list limit is

a part from DB european directive (96/9/EC) we'd better add some other EU
WIPO <http://www.wipo.int/> documents + hundreds National laws (EU 25
members) on copyright and related rights.
You can download a couple of docs
I do hope they can be useful:
List of International and EU normatives on copyright and IP (kindly provided
to CEN/TC287 WG5 by dr. M.Travostino <http://www.creativecommons.it/about>,
an italian lawyer and IP expert, also working on geodata issues - reading in
National laws ist (from WIPO

>> Local and regional authorities in Italy and in New Zealand among others,
have been looking into whether it is appropriate to use a Creative Commons
license for geodata.
Are you really sure about that?
I do know local and regional authorities in Italy quite well: just few
examples are seriously doing this (say 3 or 4 out of 20 Regions + 103
Provinces + 8000 Municipalities).
So, please, do not generalize: unfortunately it's not a national-wide

Direct link to docs:


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Piergiorgio Cipriano <pg.cipriano at gmail.com>
Date: Apr 2, 2007 2:59 PM
Subject: Re: [geo-discuss] copyright not applicable to geodata?
To: Rufus Pollock <rufus.pollock at okfn.org>, geo-discuss at lists.okfn.org
Cc: massimo.travostino at pecoraro-travostino.it


On 4/2/07, Rufus Pollock <rufus.pollock at okfn.org> wrote:
> Richard Fairhurst wrote:
> > Rufus Pollock wrote:
> >
> >> Thus the simple message to the openstreetmap and other list should be:
> >> stop worrying and keep licensing.
> >
> > Mmm, but I'm not convinced there's nothing for us to worry about.
> >
> > OSM is licensed as CC-BY-SA 2.0, which expressly defines the "Work" as
> > "the copyrightable work of authorship offered under the terms of this
> > License" (1e). Now it looks like OSM, and other geodata, may not be
> > copyrightable - it's database-rightable (sorry, that's not a word). At
> > this point the applicability of the licence starts to look a little
> > shaky, because we aren't using CC-Netherlands/Belgium.
> In the EU at least there is both copyright and the sui-generis right
> though with some restrictions on when you can use the copyright (old
> common-law jurisdictions and many others allowed copyright in simple
> data no matter how 'unoriginal'). Specifically here is the quote from
> Cornish and Llewelyn, *Intellectual Property* 5th Edition (one of the
> standard treatises) paras 19-37 and following:
> (i) Copyright in the Compilation. ... First, it [the DB directive]
> defines what is meant by a "database": "a collection of independent
> works, data or other materials arranged ina  systematic or methodical
> way and individually accessible by electronic or other means." [DB Dir
> Art 3] Then it allows copyright in a database (as distinct from its
> contents), but only on the basis of authorship involving involving
> personal intellectual creativity. This is a new limitation, so far as
> common law countries are concerned, and one which must presage a raising
> of the standard or originality throughout British Copyright law.
> Intellectual judgment which is in some sense the author's own must go
> either into choosing contents or into the method of arrangement. The
> selective dictionary will doubtless be a clearer case than the
> classificatory telephone directory but each may have some hope; the
> merely comprehensive will be precluded -- that is the silliness of the
> whole construct.
> ...
> (ii) Database right. In addition there is a separate sui generis right
> given to the maker of a database (the investing initiator) against
> extraction or reutilisation of the database. Four essential points may
> be highlighted:
>    (1) The right applies to databases whether or not their arrangement
> justifies copyright and whatever position may be regarding copyright in
> individual items in its contents.
>    ...
> > I do agree with your point on the SPARC-OpenData list about the "social
> > contract", but unfortunately if someone exploits it _despite_ that, the
> > result is either big fat legal fees or an unenforced licence.
> I agree, and the social contract point was a secondary one.
> > We (OSM) are asking lawyers about this.
> That is great to hear and let me know what the result is. Even if the
> current CC license is insufficient it should only be a small mod to make
> it sufficient. On this point, I don't know whether you recall but two
> years after the original open geodata forum Giles Lane instigated work
> on modifying the CC licenses specicifically for use with geodata:
>    http://lists.okfn.org/pipermail/geo-discuss/2005-April/000012.html
> The effort rather ran out of steam due to a perceived lack of immediate
> need for it. Details, plus link to last version of the license are on:
> http://www.okfn.org/geo/access.html#license .
> ~rufus
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> geo-discuss at lists.okfn.org
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Piergiorgio Cipriano
pg.cipriano at gmail.com

Piergiorgio Cipriano
pg.cipriano at gmail.com
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