[odc-discuss] Database and Contents Distinction

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Fri May 1 11:39:23 UTC 2009

As part of the release of the ODbL v1.0 RC we created a FAQ on the
Database/Contents distinction which can be found on:


(I've also included the text below). As evidenced by recent
discussions on this list this is an important point that people might
get confused about so I'd be very interested to hear any
comments/suggested improvements people may have.



#### Why Do You Have Separate Licenses for the Database and its Contents?

The simplest answer is because they may have separate rights. For
example, consider a database of photographs. Here there are the rights
in the database and quite separate individual copyrights in the
photographs. Or consider the example of Freebase which contains
textual material and images from Wikipedia as well as user contributed
material. While Freebase controls the database the individual items of
contents need to have their own separate license.

Of course much of the time the the Licensor of the database is also in
the position to license the rights (if any) in the contents -- the
classic example would be a database containing factual data. For this
reason we've created a very simple Database Contents License which you
can use in conjunction with the ODbL to ensure that you've licensed

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