[okfn-discuss] MusicBrainz + OKD

Jonathan Gray jonathan.gray at okfn.org
Fri Apr 4 00:33:57 UTC 2008

Hi all,

As you possibly may have noticed the MusicBrainz team are now displaying 
the Open Knowledge web button [1] in their footer [2] - which is great news!

Brian Schweitzer, who's involved with the project, sent me some comments 
on point 4 of the OKD - 'Absence of Technological Restriction'.

I thought these could be of interest to some of you on this list - so 
they're attached below.

(Incidentally - if anyone can think of any open knowledge projects to 
contact regarding the buttons, please let me know!)



[1] http://opendefinition.org/buttons
[2] http://musicbrainz.org/

### First message:

I help out on the MusicBrainz support email addresses, but I'm just
sending this email as an individual, not representing MusicBrainz.

I was just reading your definition of Open Knowledge, and saw one
point which I thought I'd mention to you.

Under point 4, Absence of Technological Restriction
"The work must be provided in such a form that there are no
technological obstacles to the performance of the above activities.
This can be achieved by the provision of the work in an open data
format, i.e. one whose specification is publicly and freely available
and which places no restrictions monetary or otherwise upon its use."

This seems like it's maybe a little over-broad.  Technically,
MusicBrainz wouldn't comply with this point, because there is a
technological restriction in the access to the data, if it is sourced
from the server directly, rather than via the data dumps and a locally
installed server.  It's a minimal restriction, but the reasonable 1
request per second limit placed on clients directly accessing the MB
servers would seem to be potentially counter to the "no technological
obstacles" and "or otherwise", were it not that the data dumps allow
people to locally bypass that restriction.

It's just a small nit, but, while MB provides data dumps for whatever
purposes you might need (including those who need to access data
faster than once a second), other fledgling groups might not have the
bandwidth / ability to do such knowledge dumps, while also still being
new/small enough to not yet have server capacity to provide the
totally unrestricted (reasonably, to avoid DDOS, etc) data access
which that bit suggests.

### Second Message:

...while I do see MB as OKD compliant, because of the dumps, I'm
more thinking that newer projects, without the resources to yet
provide such dumps, might end up inadvertently tripping on that little
bit, as even more than MB, they'd also be the ones most inclined to
need some sort of connection rate-limiting...  and that could
technically be then considered some sort of "other" technological
obsticle - the data itself being free, but the amount / quantity of
data per given timespan being limited - not something nuts like 1
req/hour (ala free Rapidshare downloads), but something merely based
on "please don't overload us while you take the info!"   :) 

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