[openbiblio-dev] Bibsoup legal issues

Jim Pitman pitman at stat.Berkeley.EDU
Wed Sep 28 15:30:53 UTC 2011

The recent upload


raises some systems and metadata and legal issues which we need to deal with.

This collection is now displayed with no source and no copyright indication.  I really dont like this.  I think every collection displayed
on the bibsoup should have a source file on the web.
What we are doing with this upload from file option is allowing users to publish bibs to the web. But no metadata is being collected to
* what is the source of the data.
* who the user is
* what if any rights they may claim over the content,

I find this quite troubling.  I think we need to try to separate three different functions of the bibsoup/bibserver

1) capability to display a bib file from just about any more/less open biblio source on the web: we should expect such sources to have stable addresses

2) capability to upload and provide a url for any bib a user offers from their desktop.  But for this, we must have some clickthrough legal page, which licenses the
 content and makes it clear what the source is.  I think this is like a pre-stage to 1), and from there the display is identical to 1). It is not properly separated from 1) at present.

3) capability to acquire, cache and merge public domain components of biblio data uploaded to the bibsoup from whatever sources

There are also legal issues around 1).
As long as we just offer display over files that are already accessible on the web, we are probably fairly safe.
But we should think about our legal/licensing strategy. This is not formulated at present.

We may also consider providing users with private displays  of their data. But I advise against this, because we then have to provide security on collections,
privacy policy, ...  which is costly. Lets leave that to others. I think we should say that anyone can upload their data to bibsoup, but that in doing so they make their
content more public than it otherwise would be, unless they provide explicit licenses on their records or collections.
This is something we will have to work through also with the bigger suppliers like Mendeley and Microsoft.


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