[odc-discuss] Database Contents Licence (formerly the FIL)

Anders Söderbäck Anders.Soderback at kb.se
Sun May 3 22:05:01 UTC 2009

Thanks a lot! 

I will follow up on this discussion later - lots of interesting questions going on. I have no experience of thinking about databases and ownership outside of a library context but the issue is extremely interesting and confusing for libraries, mainly because libraries during the last hundred years or more have built databases by copying information from other libraries or buying from various organizations, under various contracts, various jurisdictions, sometimes without contracts, sometimes under contracts signed so long ago noone is able to find them. And if you can find the contract it is usually about "records", a concept that to me seems more and more archaic.

And since most public and academic libraries (the exception of course being some national libraries selling records) have no economical interest in their databases, libraries just don't want to care about this issue. You just need an easy way to make everything open. Unfortunately you need to care. "Information wants to be free but is everywhere in chains" etc...

/ Anders

-----Ursprungligt meddelande-----
Från: okfn.rufus.pollock at googlemail.com genom Rufus Pollock
Skickat: fr 2009-05-01 13:33
Till: Anders Söderbäck
Kopia: odc-discuss at lists.okfn.org
Ämne: Re: [odc-discuss] Database Contents Licence (formerly the FIL)
2009/4/30 Anders Söderbäck <Anders.Soderback at kb.se>:
> Dear everyone,
> This being my first entry on the okfn-list, I would like to add to Jonathans confusion, which I suppose is about the status of bibliographic records. (At least, that's where I get confused...)
> My impression is that as bibliographic records containing only factual information are not original enough to attain copyright status. Copyright, as I understand it, can only be applied

This is probably right though if you were, for example, to include a
detailed precis of a novel in a bibliographic field this might get its
own standard "textual" copyright.

> to original work, and to databases only if there is any "substantial investment" and you live
> in  European country where the EU database directive is implemented (such as Sweden).

No this is not true. Collections of material be that factual data or a
set of images can get a "Database" like rights in many jurisdictions
-- see <http://wiki.okfn.org/OpenDataLicensing>

> However, I am not sure if my impression is correct. Can a record of factual information ever
> be considered for copyright?

No factual info per se cannot get a copyright or a database right but
a collection of such information (a "Database") can.

Exactly where a collection of facts goes from being facts to being a
"Database" is not exactly clear -- just as where a collection of
characters or words gets large enough and original enough to obtain a
copyright ...

> If that is the case, is this because the record, being in itself a collection of factual information, is considered a database? (This seems very strange to me...) Or can the effort of putting all this factual information make the record an original creation? (Library cataloguers might be very skilled at what they do, but this still seem strange to me since catalogue records are supposed to be standardized, not original...) Or does it take the addition of any original work (such as an abstract) to make a library record subject to copyright?

I don't know whether an *individual* bibliographic record would be
substantial enough to be considered a "Database" or Copyrightable
collection. However, a collection of such records at least once past a
certain size would likely do so.

On your point about the abstract it is really important to keep in
mind the difference between:

Database/Collection rights
Rights in the individual objects in that collection

Here the abstract might attract its own individual copyright quite
separate from the rights in the collection.

Much of the time you won't want to have to worry about this
distinction and, as you perceptively suggest in your next point, you
can just use ODbL + DbCL (or the PDDL on its own) and you know you've
cover everything.

> Anyway, when licensing library data, I guess you could use both the ODbL and the DbCL together, just to be safe.

Yes that would be exactly the approach to use: that way you'd know
you'd licensed all the rights there were.



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