[od-discuss] City of Calgary Open Data License Approval Request

Andrew Stott andrew.stott at dirdigeng.com
Mon Mar 18 16:06:42 UTC 2013



Thanks for posting to this list.


A prior question is why you consider that a special licence for the City of
Calgary is necessary and why you consider that it is not possible to use an
established open licence - such as Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 [1][2].
While the effect on people only using City of Calgary data may not be
significant the combination of datasets from different jurisdictions become
difficult if each jurisdiction uses its own licence.


On the detail of the text I had the following comments from the "open" point
of view:


(1) "You will be fully responsible for any consequences resulting from any
use of the Data" is unusual.  While it is acceptable and usual to limit the
liability of the City from any use of the data, this clause seems to require
that the user of the data cannot similarly limit their liability from
downstream uses of the data by somebody else.  For instance, if the City
releases a list of points of interest including ATMs, and a developer uses
these to do a "Find My Nearest ATM" application, and someone uses the
application to find an ATM where they are mugged it would seem that the
developer is required to be liable to the victim. This may implicitly put a
very severe limit on what can be done with the data, and that would not be


(2)  "any lawful Use" is problematical in all sorts of ways - for instance
which laws apply?  If someone uses the data in another jurisdiction in a way
which is unlawful in Calgary, or in a way which is unlawful in their own
jurisdiction but lawful in Calgary, are they entitled to use the licence?
Generally the best line is that breaking the law is against the law anyway,
and leaving enforcement to the normal criminal law process on the
substantive offence rather than trying to use licensing as law enforcement.
In any case, would such a provision really be effective: if someone is going
to do something illegal how constrained would they really be by breach of


(3)  there are two provisions which create uncertainty for the data user -
the provision (para 1) that the user would be bound by later changes to the
licence and the provision (para 3) that the City might retrospectively
require the user to remove an attribution.  (The latter was an issue
recently discussed here in the context of the proposed Datalizenz
Deutschland [3]).  It would be better to say that a user who has downloaded
the data may continue to use the data in perpetuity under the licence which
applied at the time that he downloaded it.


(4) the Acceptance of Other Conditions clause is also problematical - the
*requirement* to accept other conditions means that the licence as it stands
could not be classed as Open.  If other licence conditions are really
necessary for specific datasets then it would be best for these to be
self-standing licences and to have a general, open and complete licence that
applied to all the Open Data which the City of Calgary is making available. 



[1] https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/


[2] Note that CC-BY 3.0 actually allows the licensor to make the attribution
optional, if that is what you want.  It also has provisions about what to do
if there would be a lengthy list of attributions in a "collection".


[3] http://lists.okfn.org/pipermail/od-discuss/2013-March/000344.html




Andrew Stott


From: od-discuss-bounces at lists.okfn.org
[mailto:od-discuss-bounces at lists.okfn.org] On Behalf Of Simbirski, Walter
Sent: 18 March 2013 14:51
To: 'od-discuss at lists.okfn.org'
Subject: [od-discuss] City of Calgary Open Data License Approval Request


The Open Data License for the City of Calgary can be found here:




We would like to have the license reviewed for conformance as an open data


We believe it is similar to the Creative Commons Attribution License with
the following differences:


-          We do not require attribution although users are encouraged to
give attributions. Our thoughts are that in the case of compilations of data
the attribution list can become quite lengthy and the amount of data
actually used from a data set could be quite small; therefore, we have given
the user the option to include or exclude attribution.

-          We ask users not to use data from City of Calgary for illegal
purposes. While we cannot strictly enforce such a clause this puts the onus
on the user of data to ensure that the use of data conforms to regional


Thank you



Walter Simbirski
Intellectual Property Analyst, Access Solutions

Infrastructure & Information Services 
The City of Calgary | Mail Code: #8191 
T: 403-268-2069 | F: 403-268-3638 www.calgary.ca 

Floor 6 Calgary Municipal Building - B10-4

P.O. Box 2100, Station M, Calgary, AB Canada T2P 2M5


ISC: Protected


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