[open-bibliography] Fwd: [okfn-discuss] University of Ghent LibraryCatalogues: Open or Not?

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Fri Apr 2 13:46:52 UTC 2010

On 2 April 2010 14:31, John Mark Ockerbloom <ockerblo at pobox.upenn.edu> wrote:
> Rufus Pollock wrote:
>> My basic answer is: no, in standard usage, the ODC licenses do not
>> impose "contract terms" that go beyond copyright *plus* the relevant
>> data(base) specific IP rights in your jurisdiction (if these differ
>> from copyright).
> It might be helpful, then, if the ODbL made this clearer up front
> in future revisions.   The statement
> "[2.2.]c. Contract. This is an agreement between You and the Licensor for
> access to the Database. In return you agree to certain conditions of use on
> this access as outlined in this License."

As I explained in an earlier email the ODbL is really little different
from e.g. CC licenses in this respect, the ODbL is just being more
explicit about this ...

<quote (from earlier email)>
I'm not sure of the relevance of this comment. Almost all licenses
whether they are normal CC ones for content or Open Data Commons one's
for data have an element of contract in them, at least in common law
jurisdictions. See, for example, this comment from Mia Garlick (who
was CC's general counsel):


> appears fairly early in the license, and it in itself does
> does not appear to be consistent with your statement, as it's
> understood in US law.  In particular, simple access to a database
> does not normally infringe copyright law in the US.

What do you mean by "simple access to the database" and what exactly
do you mean by "infringe copyright law". In general simple access
won't be an immediate violation if you allow free access in any
jurisdiction. Copying or reusing that data(base) may do ... The US
situation is complex (despite Feist), and the exact status of rights
in a "database" will depend on the degree of "originality" that went
into the construction of the database etc. For more see

> It looks like section 6 (and 10.4) later walk this back to acknowledging
> atandard copyright-law user rights without any restrictions.  But it's
> complex enough that I as a non-lawyer can't easily be *positive* it
> walks the contract-even-without-infringement implication
> of 2.2.c all the way back.  (The folks at Science Commons seem
> to doubt this as well, based on their comments at
> http://sciencecommons.org/resources/readingroom/comments-on-odbl/
> but I can't tell if their comments reflect an earlier draft, or whether
> you and they have come to an understanding since.)

I've commented on the science commons piece when it was posted last
year here (though not covering the contractual issue):


On this specific question of contract, my view is what I have
expressed above which is this that ODbL here is little different from
your current application of a CC by-sa: both could be interpreted as
having a contractual component (which the ODbL is explicit about)
while being primarily based on the underlying IP rights.

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