[od-discuss] OKD questions from 2010

Luis Villa luis at tieguy.org
Tue Mar 5 16:08:18 UTC 2013

Thanks, Mike- I'll pass that on to the board.

I'm assuming we should hold off on anything formal until 1.2 is
finalized and ready for announcement, but the board will discuss and
(hopefully) give general approval tomorrow.

On Sun, Mar 3, 2013 at 10:58 PM, Mike Linksvayer <ml at gondwanaland.com> wrote:
> This will be fixed in 1.2, on which I'll post a list of final issues
> to close on in the next week.
> Current draft at
> https://github.com/okfn/opendefinition/blob/master/source/open-knowledge-definition.markdown
> Mike
> On Sun, Mar 3, 2013 at 11:00 PM, Luis Villa <luis at tieguy.org> wrote:
>> The OSI board is (informally) on board with this idea. The only minor
>> concern is that tt was noted that the OKD references the OSD without
>> defining "OSD", and also says that software is covered by "previous
>> work" without actually mentioning OSI/OSD. Could we adjust those to
>> give some credit to OSI/OSD and actually define "OSD"?
>> Luis
>> On Mon, Feb 11, 2013 at 6:59 PM, Mike Linksvayer <ml at gondwanaland.com> wrote:
>>> http://blog.okfn.org/2010/08/04/update-on-open-source-initiatives-adoption-of-the-open-knowledge-definition/
>>> lists some question, with answers in
>>> http://okfnpad.org/okd-questions (copied below).
>>> I think Q3 is the only one pertinent to a new version of the OKD, but
>>> feel free to suggest otherwise. I don't have a strong feeling as to
>>> whether the suggested language is more clear or otherwise better.
>>> Existing:
>>>     The rights attached to the work must apply to all to whom it is
>>> redistributed without the need for execution of an additional
>>> *license* by those parties.
>>> Suggested:
>>>     The rights attached to the work must apply to all to whom it is
>>> redistributed without the need for execution of an additional
>>> *agreement* by those parties.
>>> (one word change highlighted)
>>> I do think reaching out to OSI again for feedback would make sense
>>> before releasing a new OKD version, but I'll leave guidance on that to
>>> Luis Villa.
>>> Mike
>>> ...
>>> Please add your name in bold to any comments/questions below -- and
>>> ensure you have a different colour from others!
>>> Question 1. What happens with data that's not copyrightable?
>>> Question 1a. What about data that consists of facts about the world
>>> and thus even a collection of it cannot be copyrighted, but the exact
>>> file format can be copyrighted?  Many sub-federal-level governments in
>>> the US have to publish facts on demand but claim a copyright on the
>>> formatting.
>>> Jordan Hatcher: These are both great questions -- I think it helps to
>>> separate out a few areas when talking about open data and the law:
>>> ## 1.  the data / database distinction.
>>> I prefer to use the term "contents of a databasea" because lots of
>>> databases will have clearly copyrightable material in them, such as
>>> music (ex: mp3s), images (ex: Flickr photos), or video (ex: Internet
>>> Archive stuff). When people talk about "data" they start automatically
>>> thinking  about 'facts" and then really starting to question the
>>> available rights  (and rightly so, as it is different -- facts aren't
>>> copyrightable on  their own).
>>> ## 2.  legal questions on the boundaries of how the law (in various
>>> jurisdictions) interacts with databases and their contents
>>> There's a bunch of tricky legal questions around how databases and
>>> their contents, particularly when those contents contain factual
>>> information, interact with the law.  The law varies between
>>> jurisdictions and so there's no one set global answer and just like in
>>>  most areas of the law, these aren't binary yes/no questions.
>>> Just like with open source, I think you have to leave many of these
>>> questions to the side when trying to define a standard in the area
>>> such  as what "open data" means.  It doesn't matter in regards to the
>>> Open  Source Definition what the outcome is on the "is it a license or
>>> a  contract?" debate lawyers get into.
>>> Question 2. What about data that's not accessible as a whole, but only
>>> through an API?
>>> Jordan Hatcher: As a concrete example to this question, what would
>>> open data mean  in the context of the results ("data" or "contents")
>>> returned from  querying an API? I think to be "open data" then you
>>> should have the rights to do  what you wish (within the open
>>> definition scope) with the results of  that query. I don't think that
>>> opening up the database that sits behind that  API should be required
>>> to be distributed in order to be open data.
>>> However as a corollary to the above, any license restriction that
>>> prevented you from being able to get all the database through running
>>> multiple queries would prevent that from being open data. Technical
>>> restrictions (number of API calls, for example) would be okay.
>>> Incidentally, the Open Database License (ODbL) would view public  API
>>> access as distribution and so would trigger access to the full
>>> database -- see 4.6 of the text
>>> <http://www.opendatacommons.org/licenses/odbl/1.0/>
>>> Question 3. We're thinking that OKD #9 should read "execution of an
>>> additional agreement" rather than "additional license".
>>> Jordan Hatcher: Seems to make sense. Is OSI considering a similar
>>> change to the Open Source Definition?
>>> Question 4. Does OKD #4 apply to works distributed in a particular
>>> file format? Is a movie not open data if it's encoded in a
>>> patent-encumbered codec? Does it become open data if it's re-encoded?
>>> Jordan Hatcher: Though in the end, we're nothing but data (GATC in
>>> DNA) I think it might be stretching it a bit as a practical matter to
>>> consider an MPEG4  file movie as a typical example for open data.This
>>> does bring up the point though about file formats, and it can be an
>>> issue. I think that you can still have open data in a proprietary
>>> format, as long as users aren't restricted from converting the
>>> database into an open format (or any other format), then it would be
>>> open data.
>>> Kirrily: here's a real use case, then. Is it open data if the govt
>>> distributes it as files that need to be opened in a massively
>>> expensive, non-free statistical software package?  What about geo data
>>> in formats that are specific to non-free GIS platforms?  These are
>>> real and common use cases.
>>> Jordan: Yes, an expensive proprietary format can be a barrier, but I
>>> think there is a line to be drawn on being open *data*. If you are
>>> legally able to convert that data into an open format, then the data
>>> is open. There are lots of things that can present a barrier in the
>>> same way as a massively expensive software package to read a certain
>>> format -- what about access to the internet, or access to a computer
>>> at all, or skills to use a computer?  All can form a real barrier to
>>> access and use/reuse of data, but to be a workable definition I think
>>> it's best to focus on the legal rights around the ability to do these
>>> things.
>>>  Question 5. What constitutes onerous attribution in OKD #5?  If you
>>> get open data from somebody, and they have an attribution page, is it
>>> sufficient for you to comply with the attribution requirement if you
>>> point to the attribution page?
>>> Jordan Hatcher: I think this is one of those great questions that is
>>> best left up to  users to define in practice, rather than to set down
>>> in stone what is  onerous and what isn't as this will evolve over time
>>> and across  technologies.  Asking attribution not to be onerous I
>>> think is a good  starting place, particularly for open data as many
>>> contributions could  get quite burdensome quite quickly depending on
>>> how the license was  written.
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