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

Anthony osm at inbox.org
Fri Nov 9 12:04:13 UTC 2012

On Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 3:54 AM, Robert Whittaker (ODC lists) <
robert.whittaker+odc at gmail.com> wrote:

> I'd have to disagree here. If there are rights in P that you cannot
> license under L, then surely you cannot tell people that you are
> licensing P under L, at least not without further qualification.

You literally are capable of speaking/writing those words.  That's all I
meant by "can say...".  Whether or not it's illegal to do so, whether or
not someone relying on the statement can sue you for doing so, whether or
not it's going to be worth going through the trouble of instigating such a
tenuous lawsuit, etc., are a different question altogether.

> No.  First of all, database rights only apply in certain jurisdictions.
> Isn't the point of the "contract" aspect of the ODbL to protect those
> rights using contract law even in those jurisdictions which don't have
> a notion of database rights?

If one could acquire database rights in a database which extended into
jurisdictions without database rights protections, simply by outlining a
bunch of rules and calling it a "contract", that would be quite an amazing
feat.  The way I learned it, a contract requires acceptance.  The doctrine
of privity is an important one not to forget.

Even if it were possible, it's unlikely that ODbL is such a "contract":


6.1 This License does not affect any rights that You or anyone else may
independently have under any applicable law to make any use of this
Database, including without limitation:

      a. Exceptions to the Database Right including: Extraction of Contents
from non-electronic Databases for private purposes, Extraction for purposes
of illustration for teaching or scientific research, and Extraction or
Re-utilisation for public security or an administrative or judicial

      b. Fair dealing, fair use, or any other legally recognised limitation
or exception to infringement of copyright or other applicable laws.


As for your question about the "point" of ODbL, I'll leave that to the
people who wrote it. I'm commenting only on what it says, not what the
creators wish that it accomplished.

> > If the database is not copyrighted, but merely protected by database
> rights,
> > then I think the terms are clear.  A Produced Work is supposed to contain
> > the statement "Contains information from DATABASE NAME, which is made
> > available here under the Open Database License (ODbL)."  A reasonable
> person
> > will read that and understand that if they want to extract the
> information,
> > and they are in a jurisdiction which recognizes database rights, then
> they
> > have to follow ODbL.
> I'm not sure that's the case. When coupled with a statement about a
> CC-By license, the "Contains information from DATABASE NAME, which is
> made available here under the Open Database License (ODbL)."  could be
> read as an attribution statement, that re-users are simply required to
> maintain under the terms of CC-By.

It could be read that way.  That would be a misreading.  I was going to
bring up the fact that "made available here under" does not mean
"attributed to", but even that misreading wouldn't make sense - you aren't
attributing the data to ODbL.  You're making the data available under ODbL.

Anyway, maybe this should be made even more explicit.  I'm sure suggestions
as to how to do so are welcome.

> >> (In fact, it could be argued that the receiver of
> >> the produced work would need to formally agree to the ODbL before they
> >> could use the produced work themselves, so does that mean that the
> >> person offering the produced work needs to include this as a term /
> >> requirement in whatever license they offer the Produced work under?).

> Ok, change "formally agree to" to "be aware that they need to comply
> with the terms of".

This isn't required either.

> Back to what I said originally: If you are given P
> and told it's licensed under L, then you would expect to be able to
> use it under the terms of L, without further restrictions. If you're
> not made aware that there are additional terms you need to comply
> with, then how are you to know that you need to do so. I don't think
> that the ODbL attribution statement necessarily gives that awareness.


> I've probably been thinking in terms of sub-licensing, when I
> shouldn't have been. So maybe I should re-phrase my question: Suppose
> I have used an ODbL database to create a produced work. I want others
> to be able to use the produced work, so I need to provide potential
> users with a clear statement of the terms under which they may do so.
> I'd like the terms to be as liberal as possible, and am happy to
> license my IP in the produced work under eg CC0. What do I need to
> tell people about the terms under which they may re-use the produced
> work?

This work is released under CC0.  Contains information from DATABASE NAME,
which is made available here under the Open Database License (ODbL).
 Warning: May contain information which is available only under the terms
of ODbL.


> Presumably I need to tell them that they must comply with the
> ODbL terms as far as the produced work and its underlying data are
> concerned.

If you'd like to be as liberal as possible, then you shouldn't say that
they *must* comply with the ODbL.  ODbL only applies in situations where
there is copyright, database right, or privity of contract.
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