[okfn-discuss] Modding CC-licenses for data

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Mon Jun 25 08:07:36 UTC 2007

Peter Suber wrote:
> At 07:50 AM 6/22/2007, Rufus wrote:
>> I agree though my understanding of CC's positions is that they don't 
>> CC licenses to be applied to data -- only to the copyrigtable elements 
>> of databases. In fact talks with John Willbanks at iCommons indicated 
>> that they may be planning a communique on this precise issue.
> In case it helps, here's the Science Commons FAQ on using CC licenses 
> for databases.
> http://sciencecommons.org/resources/faq/databases/

Thanks for the pointer Peter and I've already got a link to, and some 
excerpts from, that excellent resource.

> To answer one of Rufus' original questions, I think it's important to 
> encourage database providers to waive any "database rights" they may 
> have under the laws of their country, even if these are not codified as 
> part of copyright law.  A license that could make such a waiver clear 
> for users and enforceable in court would be very beneficial.

I know that CC are now leaning heavily towards opting for a full waiver 
approach and we should explicitly include this as an option in the 
guide. However, in general, I'm still not sure why you wouldn't want to 
use an open license as opposed to a waiver. In particular one might want 
to impose attribution or sharealike type provisions.

On the attribution front I know many academics who would want to ensure 
that if they made data available others would credit them properly. Now, 
of course one could argue this should dealt with via the social norms of 
the community but in my experience it is often useful, when trying to 
persuade someone to open up their data, to be able to say: 'Look this 
license explicitly guarantess that you should be credited'.

On the share-alike front it seems to be that for data there are exactly 
the same problems of 'enclosure' as one has for code (cf. Gracenote). 
The sharealike provision can provide an effective way to deal with this.



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