[odc-discuss] Licensing of produced works from an ODbL database

Robert Whittaker (ODC lists) robert.whittaker+odc at gmail.com
Fri Nov 2 16:29:32 UTC 2012

I have a question concerning produced works from an ODbL database,
which people on this list may be able to help with. I'm not convinced
that the ODbL is clear on this issue, so it may need to be addressed
in the long run via the FAQ at
http://opendatacommons.org/faq/licenses/ or even by amending the
license itself. Because of this, I initially tried asking via the ODC
contact email address, but was directed to this list instead.

I understand that if I create and then "publicly use" a produced work
from an ODbL-licensed database I'm required to do various things.
Roughly, I need to add some text to the produced work saying that it
came from such a database (4.3), ensure that any derivative database
created along the way is under a suitable license (4.4) and also meet
the requirements for providing the final database or algorithm used to
produce it (4.6). That's all fine. My question is about how I can then
license that produced work to others. Are there any restrictions
placed on what license I could offer the produced work under?

I believe that I do not have to "share-alike" the produced work, and
can keep it "all rights reserved" if I want to. (Although given the
other provisions I have to comply with, others would be able to
produce very similar produced works for themselves if they wanted to.)

What I'm actually interested in is the other end of the scale: can I
give the produced work away under a very liberal license? Do I have to
do something ensure that other users and creators of derivative works
maintain the attribution back to the ODbL database? Or could I offer
the produced work under something like the CC0 license?

This would seem to be quite an important question for ODbL data users,
and I can't see any explicit statement about this in the ODbL itself.
The closest thing is (4.3) where the text could be taken as a viral
attribution requirement on any re-uses of the produced work. However
it doesn't say that it applies to any derivative works arising from
the produced work, it just talks about "the Produced Work" itself,
though I suppose it could be argued that being exposed to a derivative
of a produced work exposes you to some aspects of the original
produced work too.

Any thoughts on this would be welcome.

Many thanks,


PS: I've already tried asking a similar question on the OSM mailing
list at http://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/legal-talk/2012-October/007266.html
. The discussion mostly got side-tracked by other issues, though here
was some support for the idea that (4.3) imposes a viral attribution
requirement. Even if this is the case, I don't think the ODbL is
completely clear, so I think some form of clarification from ODC would
be useful.

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