[odc-discuss] An attribution-only version of the open database license

Matt Amos zerebubuth at gmail.com
Wed Nov 18 16:27:14 UTC 2009

On Wed, Nov 18, 2009 at 2:26 PM, Rufus Pollock <rufus.pollock at okfn.org> wrote:
> 2009/11/18 Matt Amos <zerebubuth at gmail.com>:
>> On Wed, Nov 18, 2009 at 11:13 AM, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:
>> sure. but there are some who would argue that "SA" licenses are a step
>> away from open, and then we just end up having a license holy war.
> This isn't about "holy war" but something very practical: license
> compatibility and the integrity of the "open" commons. The core of a
> "commons" of data (or code) is that one piece of "open" material
> contained therein can be freely intermixed with other "open" material.

that's your definition of "open", though. part of the point i was
trying to make is that different people and companies have different
definitions of "open" and, while i like your definition, it's not a
widely-used definition yet.

> Share-alike or attribution requirements are allowed within the
> definition precisely because they do not break this interoperability
> (and may even help promote the commons by ensuring material is "shared
> back").

except when it needs to be shared back to a project which is
attribution-only or PD. in that situation, taking PD/BY data and
releasing it under an SA/BY-SA license is allowed, but breaks
interoperability with the original dataset.

> To reiterate: it is a mistake to view the set of licenses as some
> continuous spectrum of 'openness' with PD at one end and full rights
> reserved at the other -- with the implication that all licenses in
> between are more or less open.

there was no such implication of a one-dimensional total ordering.
however, two similar licenses can be compared. for example, adding an
NC clause to any license which didn't discriminate against commercial
use means removing some freedoms, adding some restrictions, being
"less open".

> There are significant discontinuities and in particular we can
> meaningfully partition the set of licenses into open and not-open
> based on a) their interoperability b) the freedom they provide to
> *all* persons (and companies) to use, reuse and redistribute.

again, for your definition of "open". dropping paragraph 8 of your
definition (and some other wording tweaks) would lead to a partition
no less meaningful, but which would include NC licenses.

>> annoying that google claim to be releasing data openly, but it's all
>> NC and no-compete and a bunch of other stuff. it would be nice to say
>> to google - "you can't claim to be open because you don't meet this
>> definition". but unfortunately it would probably be difficult to get
>> the trademark on the word "open" ;-)
> There would be no desire to get a trademark here but I do think we
> should be making an effort to have a clear meaning for "open" in
> relation to data and content along the lines of
> http://opendefinition.org/ -- just as the open source definition has
> done for code.

well, the thing about the trademark was supposed to be a joke. but it
would be interesting to do a review of available geodata sources and
see if they fit your definition.



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