[odc-discuss] Fwd: [OSM-legal-talk] LWN article on license change and Creative Commons

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Fri Jan 21 13:09:49 UTC 2011

On 21 January 2011 10:18, Rob Myers <rob at robmyers.org> wrote:
> Do read the original thread linked to at LWN.

Very interesting.

I think the change of position at CC (there clearly has been one) is
almost certainly due to groups like OSM and their concerns and the
work in this area by ODC, OSM and others.

>From ODC perspective, looking at that discussion, I think the main
things to emphasize are:

1. A lot of thought (much from OSM) went into drafting the ODbL.
Data(base)s are different from content (just as content was different
from code) and they need specific thought (if anything 'content' is
closer to code than data is to content yet CC created a set of
licenses even though the GPL, MIT/BSD etc all already existed).

Even if CC do address data in their upgrade they are going to need to
have stuff in there looks pretty like the ODbL.

2. The contract issue argument about ODbL being bad ('ODbL introduces
contract) is, in my opinion, a) bogus b) a red-herring. CC licenses
are contracts too, right ... [1]

3. The ODbL already supports the concept of compatible licenses. If CC
licenses do reach the point that they support data then this should
provide a way to interope (or even migrate) to that license if a
particular organization so wishes.



[1]: See statement by then CC counsel Mia Garlick:


just to answer the question as to what CC thinks - whether it's
licenses are only a license, not a contract; in my view, the CC
licenses are contracts.

See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_license

 "A software license (or software licence in commonwealth usage) is a
legal instrument (by way of contract law) governing the usage or
redistribution of software." [1]

> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: [OSM-legal-talk] LWN article on license change and Creative Commons
> Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2011 16:02:29 -0800 (PST)
> From: Kai Krueger <kakrueger at gmail.com>
> Reply-To: Licensing and other legal discussions.
> <legal-talk at openstreetmap.org>
> To: legal-talk at openstreetmap.org
> I'd like to link to a recent interesting article on the OSM licensing change
> on LWN (Linux Weekly News) as I haven't seen it be mentioned anywhere yet.
> http://lwn.net/Articles/422493/
> It also has a 60 entry long comment section. Although much is a rehash of
> the the endless debates on OSMs own communication channels,
> there are also a set of comments by user mlinksva from Creative Commons
> (e.g. http://lwn.net/Articles/422754/) that seem to bring points to light
> that would suggest a possible, quite significant, change of attitude (or at
> least a perceived change) of CC towards open data licensing and OSM.
> I'll try and paraphrase some of the main points and hope I don't
> missrepresent anyone.
> - CC does not (no longer) think data should be PD and would be happy with
> copyleft on data. The statements of CC saying data should be PD were from
> science commons for scientific data only and was a misscommunication that it
> was perceived as general CC viewpoint
> - CC does care about data and either sees their licensing as potentially
> valid for data or intend to make it work for data
> - CC is (or will be) working on a new version 4 of their CC licenses, which
> will apparently make every effort to address the needs of the open data
> ecosystem
> What exactly this all means, if it is indeed a shift away from the position
> CC appears to have held previously, why it comes to light now and if it has
> any relevance to the license change process for OSM I have no idea. But
> perhaps we will find out more about this soon from CC as mlinksva mentioned
> he wanted to follow up on these points publicly.
> Their wiki page on version 4 ( http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Version_4 )
> at least is still entirely empty. So it probably isn't anything around the
> corner or of any certainty yet.
> Kai
> --
> View this message in context:
> http://gis.638310.n2.nabble.com/LWN-article-on-license-change-and-Creative-Commons-tp5945925p5945925.html
> Sent from the Legal Talk mailing list archive at Nabble.com.
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