[odc-discuss] Future Open data project - help with licenses

Guido Richter kontakt at wetterpool.de
Tue Nov 8 17:19:53 UTC 2011

Hello from Germany!

I'm the head of www.wetterpool.de - a free weather data project for 
germany and europe. We want to be the first project with free data 
(hundreds of private weather stations). Therefore we need some special 
help with licenses. As an active mapper on OSM I came across ODbL and 
other licenses but we are unsure which one to use or if it could be 
necessary to use a bundle of licenses.

So mainly I want to ask if someone can help us with licenses and 
judicial subjects.

Our problems and facts are the following:

- we have a database with hundreds of weather stations sending us free 
data (currently without a certain license)
- most contributors would agree introducing a license like ODbL
- our data could be free but we need a license that saves the data from 
commercial use without "feedback" for the community and contributors
- ODbL produces a lot of questions. Some of them already have been 
answered by ourselves, but others are difficult to answer clearly.

So at the end we need a license which grants free data, but protects 
them from misusage. Data should be free for all, but copys, reductions 
or improvements of data must become public again - always and without 
any exceptions. We want to give our data away to support science and so 
on but we want to avoid governmental or private weather services from 
takeing our data and producing commercial products which can not be used 
by the community. So eventually we want something like "take our data, 
as long as everybody can take your derived data or products using this 

In our opinion ODbL is not clear enough. As we understood, data is free, 
as long as a user of that data offers a way to download his "database". 
But what happens with created products and commercial improvements? Many 
of our users are afraid of products or databases which must not be 
shared with the community. There are some more examples of kinda fiddly 

- An unimportant user takes our database, changes it and creates a small 
app at his homepage. He asks himself how to provide the new database 
with low server ressources, but a lot of people downloading his data
- A commercial service takes our data without change. Are they allowed 
to sell it without sharing? That would be horrible for our project!
- A commercial service takes out data and changes it. They produce a 
derivated map. We would prefer to make him provide his new database. If 
he uses 2 databases and creates the map "on the fly" we want, that this 
data has to be published too.
- What happens, if someone does not use a database? He just downloads 
the data and displays it somewhere. No database used. Horrible too!

If you aks me ODbL is great because it covers international aspects and 
so on but we are not sure about using it for our project aims and our 
prefered restrictions on data usage.

Can you help us? We really need help to realize that project. It's also 
planned to use OSM maps in the future to provide a worldwide map with 
our data.
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