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

Simbirski, Walter Walter.Simbirski at calgary.ca
Wed Mar 20 22:52:37 UTC 2013

Hi Herb - that's good advice. Thanks for being patient and I would really like to see Calgary end up with a conformant license as well.

If we take a look at the OD then this is what I see:

1.       Access - Works are available for free by downloading them.

2.       Redistribution - There is no restriction on redistribution.

3.       Reuse - No restriction on modification or derivative works or what terms are to applied.

4.       Absence of Technological Restriction - Works are provided in a number of formats such as CSV, KML, etc. Works are zipped but can be unzipped using readily available public domain tools.

5.       Attribution - Attribution is optional. We reserve the right to request the user remove attribution of the work if it is found not to be in the best public interest.

6.       Integrity - no restriction.

7.       No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups - no restriction.

8.       No discrimination Against Fields of Endeavour - Works may be used for any lawful purpose.

9.       Distribution of License - no restriction.

10.   License Must Not Be Specific to a Package - No issue.

11.   License Must Not Restrict the Distribution of Other Works - No restriction.

The potentially contentious issues with respect to the OD are:

5.  Reserving the right to request a user remove attribution if use of the Work is not in public interest. Is there consensus that this is an issue with respect to the OD? The OD states, " If this condition is imposed it must not be onerous." Does reserving the right to ask a user to remove attribution under certain conditions make the City of Calgary's licence onerous?

8. Works may not be used for unlawful purposes. I realize that jurisdiction is an issue but is there consensus that this is an issue with respect to the OD? As an enforcement tool this item really has no teeth and the City has no intention of acting as a policing agency. If, for example, it is brought to our attention that someone in an another country is using the Work in an unlawful fashion and we ask them to stop using the Work do we really expect them to desist? If they are already breaking the law in their own jurisdiction are they likely to care about a request from someone in another country to desist? Not likely, but we can at least try. The issue from the City's view is that we want to ensure that we are not viewed as endorsing particular uses of the Work.

In addition:

-          Acceptance of Other Issues - While this isn't an issue given the contents of our Open Data Catalogue it could conflict with the OD and I will see that this is internally reviewed.

You have identified other issues but I don't see that they conflict with the OD. Given that we do have at least one issue (Acceptance of Other Issues) I will ask for internal review of these other issues as well.

Is there a consensus on the issues that are contrary to the OD? I would like have a clear consensus within this group before beginning an internal review at this end.

Thanks for everyone's help!


From: herb.lainchbury at gmail.com [mailto:herb.lainchbury at gmail.com] On Behalf Of Herb Lainchbury
Sent: 2013 March 20 10:45 AM
To: Simbirski, Walter
Cc: od-discuss at lists.okfn.org
Subject: Re: [od-discuss] City of Calgary Open Data License Approval Request

Hi Walter,

I think to continue to compare with CC is a red herring.  I think the right approach is to use the open definition and see if it meets the criteria.  The fact that it is more or less restrictive than CC is irrelevant in my view.

Similarly, the definition says nothing about reusability so it's not necessary to make that happen.

Thanks for sticking with it.  It would be great to see Calgary end up with a conformant license out of this process.


On Wed, Mar 20, 2013 at 8:35 AM, Simbirski, Walter <Walter.Simbirski at calgary.ca<mailto:Walter.Simbirski at calgary.ca>> wrote:
I want to thank everyone for taking the time to respond to our request review the City of Calgary's Licence.
I've summarized the conversation and issues as follows:

-          Our attribution is fully optional - no issue

-          We do not require share alike - no issue

-          The provision that the user would be bound by later changes to the licence is problematic as this is contrary to CC and will be reviewed internally. I do not see this as more restrictive, just different.

-          The Acceptance of Other Conditions clause may be problematical. As stated in another post we do not have data sets to which other conditions apply so there is an easy solution on our side, i.e. remove the clause and set an internal policy that does not allow data sets with Other Conditions to be included in the catalogue. This is an option that will be reviewed internally.

-          The City has combined  Terms of Use with data set licensing which can and does lead to confusion and we will review this internally.

-          I agree that the clause "You will be fully responsible for any consequences resulting from any use of the Data" is unusual and we will review this internally.

-          Our licence in its current form is not reusable and this will be reviewed internally.

-          The City of Calgary states that the data may not be used for unlawful  purposes and reserves the right to ask for attribution to be removed if use is not the public interest. On the other hand, CC has statement 4.c. "You must not distort, mutilate, modify or take other derogatory action in relation to the Work which would be prejudicial to the Original Author's honor or reputation." CC does not have the option to request attribution be removed only to terminate the License (clause 7.a.). City of Calgary is also open to that users of open data may use it to take derogatory action, e.g. criticize the City, and we believe that this is necessary to openness and transparency. It appears to me that the City of Calgary is less restrictive than CC.

Question - if we address these issues to everybody's satisfaction would the City of Calgary licence then be approved as open do we think there are other issues that have not yet been identified? At what point can I say that all issues with the existing licence have been identified? I realize that it would be simpler from the OKFN's standpoint for the City of Calgary to adopt CC but I think this is going to be an evolutionary process rather than a revolutionary one.



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Herb Lainchbury
Dynamic Solutions Inc.
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