[odc-discuss] Open Data Definition at OSCON

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Sun Aug 8 08:07:21 UTC 2010


    Russ Nelson (name might ring a bell with some Open Source people) 
recently popped up on the OSM-legal list suggesting to create a 
defintion for open data. I pointed him to opendefinition.org, and he ran 
a session at OSCON where a number of people came up with interesting 
questions, see below. Unfortunately I didn't tell him about the 
existence of *this* list so he set up another (see below).


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [OSM-legal-talk] Open Data Definition at OSCON
Date: Sun, 8 Aug 2010 00:34:46 -0400
From: Russ Nelson <nelson at crynwr.com>
Reply-To: Licensing and other legal discussions. 
<legal-talk at openstreetmap.org>
To: Licensing and other legal discussions. <legal-talk at openstreetmap.org>

Frederik Ramm writes:
  > Russ Nelson wrote:
  > > I'm running a BOF at OSCON[1] on Wednesday night July 21st at 7PM, 
  > > the declared purpose of writing an Open Source Definition for Open
  > > Data.  Safe enough to say that the OSD has been quite successful in
  > > laying out a set of criteria for what is, and what is not, Open
  > > Source.  I think we can and should do the same thing for Open Data.
  > What's wrong with the Open Knowledge Definition from our friends at 

Didn't know at the time.  Do now:

Okay, so, as promised, here is my report on the "Open Data Definition"
BOF held on Wednesday, July 21, at 7PM.  There were about ten people
present, which is a reasonable attendance, particularly when set
against the Google Android Hands-on session at which they gave out
free Nexus One phones.

Didn't seem wise to me to start from scratch, especially given the
good work done by the Open Knowledge Foundation on their Open
Knowledge Definition: http://www.opendefinition.org/okd/ .  So we read
through it section by section, by way of review.  Here are the
questions we arrived at (thanks to Skud aka Kirrily Robert for taking

1) What happens with data that's not copyrightable?
1a) What about data that consists of facts about the world and thus
    even a collection of it cannot be copyrighted, but the exact file
    format can be copyrighted?  Many sub-federal-level governments in the
    US have to publish facts on demand but claim a copyright on the
2) What about data that's not accessible as a whole, but only through
    an API?
3) We're thinking that OKD #9 should read "execution of an additional
    agreement" rather than "additional license".
4) Does OKD #4 apply to works distributed in a particular file format?
    Is a movie not open data if it's encoded in a patent-encumbered codec?
    Does it become open data if it's re-encoded?
5) What constitutes onerous attribution in OKD #5?  If you get open
    data from somebody, and they have an attribution page, is it
    sufficient for you to comply with the attribution requirement if you
    point to the attribution page?

This serves as an invitation to discuss these issues on the new list
open-data at opensource.org .  Send subscription requests to
open-data-subscribe at opensource.org .  Unsubscribe by sending a request
to open-data-unsubscribe at opensource.org .

If these issues are successfully resolved, then this committee will
recommend to the OSI board that the OKD should be adopted as OSI
approved.  If they can't be resolved by, say, the end of 2010, then we
will give up on trying.  Either way, the intent is to lay down the
list by the end of this year unless the participants desire otherwise.

--my blog is at    http://blog.russnelson.com
Crynwr supports open source software
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