[okfn-discuss] New project - Open Data licence

Jordan Hatcher's lists lists at twitchgamer.net
Thu Sep 6 13:01:33 UTC 2007

On 2 Sep 2007, at 08:32, peter murray-rust wrote:

> I can suggest the following axioms:
> * there is a very large class of scientific data for which the  
> creators wish to claim no royalty, no reach-through restrictions  
> and no explicit permissions. This is what I am most concerned with  
> personally. The authors simply wish re-use, attribution and non- 
> corruption. There are, however, cases where authors welcome  
> community enhancement of the data.
> * the current position, relying on "non-copyright" and "BBB OA",  
> though logically supportable is not workable. There are too many  
> variations of opinion and logic. We therefore need *something* that  
> authors can add to their data which must be transmissible to  
> derivative works if required.
> I suggest that for the immediate future it would be valuable to  
> have something *very* simple - i.e. at least as simple as BSD -  
> which asserts:
> "we authors state that this is Open Data and freely re-usable for  
> whatever purpose. It may not be constrained by third-party  
> copyright or other restrictions." In practice we have simply  
> labelled our CrystalEye as "OpenData" using the OKFN logo with a  
> hyperlink.

So a couple of points in regards to the above and some other points  
made in other posts.

-- The re-draft of the TCL will be aimed primarily at the  
bibliographic community, and I would like to make it usable beyond  
this group, if possible, but that is the core group.  I hope that  
after this core is drafted, that it can be easily modded to suit  
other communities.

-- While this is an "Open Data" licence, it is really a licence about  
the Database rather than the Data, by which I mean that the rights  
licensed are database rights and copyright over the database  
(selection, arrangement, etc). I don't think that the licence can  
really try to licence the rights associated with the objects  
contained in the database, or at least that it shouldn't if you want  
to keep it usable for the vast majority of people. 
So for example, if I created a database of CC licensed images from  
Flickr, I would have DB rights and copyright (assuming I meet the  
threshold for both) but permission to use the Database (say by  
copying the entire thing to your own site) still depends on  
permission to use the Data.  If my database contained images licensed  
with the NC clause, the Database as a whole is not "open", though the  
rights associated with the data as collected in a database would be.

-- About a BSD like licence for Data -- the only thing that keeps the  
BSD licence from being a public domain dedication (in a practical  
sense) is the requirement that copies of the licence be kept with the  
code.  Something like this is easy to write and can be adapted  
quickly from the draft text.

-- I think that the end result should be (for many cases) two  
licences. One licence to cover any copyright/ neighbouring rights/ DB  
Rights in the data as collected into the database, and the other to  
cover rights associated with the Data. That way you can have data  
with different rights collected in a database (with preferably their  
rights information with each record), or you can have a relatively  
homogeneous set of data covered with a blanket licence for the database.

So for scientific data (let's assume very factual and no or  
questionable copyright) you have a BSD like licence (or some sort of  
public domain dedication) that says each piece of data is free  
(libre) to use, and a DB licence that does things like require  
attribution, integrity, or share alike.  I think that this is  
preferable as it does not overstate the rights to each piece of data  
(not trying to claim copyright over facts) and instead relies on  
rights associated with all of the data assembled into a database to  
do things like require attribution, etc.



Mr. Jordan S Hatcher, JD, LLM

jordan at opencontentlawyer dot com
IP/IT Blog: http://twitchgamer.net

Usage of Creative Commons by cultural heritage organisations

"The Impact of Free Trade Agreements on Information Technology Based  

J S Hatcher

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