[open-science] Share Alike? Or not?

Diane Cabell dc at icommons.org
Thu Jun 14 13:31:42 UTC 2012

Neither CC BY nor CC SA prohibit commercial use.  Only NC does that.  But NC also prevents commercial research entities from using the work at all since internal use might still qualify as commercial use.  

Copyright protects copying/distributing/amending copies of a work.  Patent protects making/using/selling an invention or discovery.  Different rights.

Most countries will not grant a patent if the application was filed after the invention or discovery has already been published, so your publication/distribution itself will extinguish any patent rights to the extent your paper discloses them.  Someone could add on to it and seek patent protection for the derived invention, but the addition has to qualify as being 'non-obvious'.

Attribution stacking is a serious problem for those who are trying to mine large collections of data.  It can be difficult to track small bits that are pulled out from different sources.  The list of authors to attribute might be longer than the article itself.  Consider using CC Zero or ODbL for your data.  

Diane Cabell
Creative Commons

On Jun 14, 2012, at 1:00 PM, Matthew Todd wrote:

> Hello everyone,
> Another licence question. Our open science projects on The Synaptic Leap are covered by a creative commons licence - currently a slightly out-of-date CC-BY-2.5.
> The open source drug discovery for malaria project (taking place on the same site, but also elsewhere) is generically covered by CC-BY-3.0
> http://openwetware.org/wiki/OSDDMalaria:GSK_Arylpyrrole_Series:Story_so_far
> We need to deal with the various inconsistencies, and since we're writing up the first paper on the malaria work we need to firm up the overall licence. This brought up the following fact: I don't know whether we should be Share Alike or not.
> My feeling is that anyone should be able to use whatever we do, provided there is attribution. To be honest our desire for attribution is mainly about insisting on good practice - don't use something without quoting the source. Partly it's about wanting to try to recruit more people to a unified project.
> However, there's a question about whether we ought to be insisting on Share Alike. I need clarification on the following from knowledgeable people:
> The Share Alike licence we'd use (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) includes the following phrase: "If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one"
> The key word is "distribute", meaning that under the terms of that licence it would be possible for a company to take the results from our malaria work, internalise those results and use them to make money via a patent, correct? Since that process does not involve "distributing" anything?
> Is that correct? I am keen not to bar commercial spin-offs from our work. I am keen to avoid licences that might make companies wary. Naturally those spin-offs should not restrict what we are doing in any way.
> By NOT using share-alike, are we exposing ourselves to some difficult situation we've not predicted?
> Cheers,
> Mat
> -- 
> MATTHEW TODD | Senior Lecturer and Honours Coordinator
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