[odc-discuss] Database and Contents Distinction

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Thu May 7 15:46:04 UTC 2009

Sorry for the delay in replying which was due to minor tinkering with
the FAQ entry. I've now made an update along the lines suggested, see
2nd item on:


More commetns below.

2009/5/1 Jonathan Rochkind <rochkind at jhu.edu>:
> I would reccommend that the FAQ include the kind of comparison beween the
> PDDL and the ODbL that you included in your last message.  The following
> text is extremely helpful, and I suggest should be in the FAQ, perhaps
> defining "homogenous" and "hetereogenous" first in the FAQ on "Why Do You
> Have Separate Licenses for the Database and its Contents?"
> In general, I think the FAQ needs to address ALL the license options you are
> helping to create, not just the ODbL,.

There is curently a section for the PDDL and a general section but the
ODbL FAQ section is currently the largest part.


> When you say, in all cases "whatever license you wish/can for the Contents"
> -- part of the confusion is that with certain kinds of contents (like
> bibliographic records), it can be unclear what licenses are appropriate for
> them, becuase it can be unclear what rights cover them in what
> jurisidctions.
> It's my understanding that both the PDDL (which can be applied to just
> certain records, right?), and the DbCL are intended for just this case --
> doing what you want even with the uncertainty about what rights apply.

Right using the PDDL or ODbL + DbCL you know you've covered everything
and you don't need to worry. As it says in the FAQ entry:

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

> I suggest the FAQ should help us understand what licenses are appropriate
> for Contents. In what cases you might choose the PDDL for contents, in what
> cases you might choose the DbCL for contents, in what cases you might choose
> a CC license for contents, etc.

Right. I think our recommendation would be that unless you really need
to think about the contents separately it is best to go with the PDDL
or ODbL+DbCL options (because they have been designed precisely for
this task of licensing database especially databases of data).



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