[geo-discuss] [Geodata] Re: Geodata in CKAN and collaboration (was Re: Responding to the consultation on opening Ordnance Survey's data)

Jonathan Gray jonathan.gray at okfn.org
Fri Feb 12 14:15:25 UTC 2010

(IANAL, and the views expressed are my own, not those of the OKF, etc.)

As far as I understand the OKF's remit is in promoting 'open
knowledge' as defined in the Open Knowledge Definition:


This happens not to include NC licenses, just like the Open Source and
Free Software Definitions don't include NC licenses. This is not to
say that we are 'telling other people what to do' - just that we are
in the business of promoting 'open' material in accordance to the OKD.
We are (unlike Creative Commons) not primarily about 'licensing
choice'. For example, we don't promote 'no-derivs' type licenses. But
nor do we say (on moral, religious or other grounds) that people
shouldn't use such licenses. Its simply not part of our sphere of

A separate issue is *why* it is the case that the OKF's sphere of
activity is so defined. There are a bunch of reasons here, and perhaps
it might be a good idea for us to separate them out and articulate
them better. As far as I understand many of the main reasons are not
'ideological' but deeply practical. I think many people in the open
knowledge/open data community are interested in a single commons that
doesn't discriminate against certain types of reuse (commercial,
extra-educational, etc.). There are issues with interoperability,
issues with transaction costs and so on. Some of these things were
articulated recently in a talk by Patrick Peiffer in relation to
bibliographic metadata:


To employ a couple of metaphors:
  * There are industrial standards to make bits of machinery fit
together - these do not prevent anyone from making bits of machinery
which aren't standards compliant. These standards are not necessarily
  * Would you rail against a vegetarian restaurant for not serving
meat? Not all vegetarian restaurants serve vegetarian food for the
same reasons.

All the best,


On Thu, Feb 11, 2010 at 8:14 PM, SteveC <steve at asklater.com> wrote:
> On Feb 10, 2010, at 11:05 PM, Hamish wrote:
>>> That menu has to include attribution, share alike and NC.
>> I think this thread is going nowhere fast, so I'll try to let it
>> die, but I'd would like to point out a couple of things.
>> - non-commercial-use licenses are pretty much useless for the
>> academic world.
> And it's exactly that kind of small-minded thinking that's holding everything up. There are plenty of people for which NC *is* very useful and you guys are missing out on a far bigger prize of having a license menu by holding on to your positions of what people 'should' be allowed to do, like you're legislators or something. Remember - the ODbL would never have happened if we didn't have the courage and drive to ignore the Science Commons folks. I think the next steps to put this together will require similar effort.
> Yours &c.
> Steve_______________________________________________
> Geodata mailing list
> Geodata at lists.osgeo.org
> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/geodata

Jonathan Gray

Community Coordinator
The Open Knowledge Foundation

Twitter/Identica: jwyg

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