[OSM-legal-talk] Share-data licence

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Fri Mar 9 17:22:12 GMT 2007


> Some very, very thought-provoking stuff in there. I'd especially
> recommend http://sciencecommons.org/resources/faq/databases.html .

"Creative Commons licenses only apply to materials that are protected  
by copyright." ... "(iv) The data: - whether the data itself is  
copyrightable, depends on what it is. To the extent it consists of  
factual information, it will not be copyrightable. For example, the  
contents of NCBI's Entrez Gene database include gene names,  
descriptions, pathways, protein products, and other facts. However,  
to the extent the data is creative and expressive works, such as  
papers or photographs, then the database content itself is likely to  
be protected by copyright."

So the whole discussion is moot, and our data is un-copyrightable?  
Sounds great. (Albeit the clever way in which I put the nodes when  
mapping that roundabout recently... I'd say it was almost artistic...)

Alas... I think I remember that the Ordnance Survey seem to take a  
different stance as regards their own data?

It also seems that because CC licenses can only apply to what is  
copyrightable, there will be huge differences between jurisdictions.  
CC licenses do try to take national specialities into account but if  
the national speciality makes the CC license not even apply, then  
that's useless.

Sounds like we might end up creating a happy share-alike world in  
some countries, and if someone wants to take our data and earn big  
bucks, he'll have to set up shop in the US. Welcome to the world of  
international legal limbo! We'd have to put a data embargo in place  
that forbids our data to be hosted anywhere in the US, probably.

(Did I mention that I know a simple way around all that.. ;-)

Also, an interesting side note, again quoting from above article:

"Our preference is that people do not overstate their copyright or  
other legal rights. Consequently, we adopt the position that "facts  
are free" and people should be educated so that they are aware of this."

Here, they use the term "free" meaning "free of copyright" and  
therefore also "free of any license" - as opposed to "free under a CC  
license", which it would be if it were copyrightable. I'm happy that  
even the "Science Commons" people seem to admit that CC stuff is  
"freely available" but not necessarily "free". In another paragraph  
they write:

"We recommend that database providers make it clear that only some  
elements of their database are protected by copyright (and subject to  
a Creative Commons license) and some elements are free to be used &  
reused outside of the license."

Note how "free" is only used for things "outside of the license".

Boy, do I feel vindicated ;-)


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00.09' E008°23.33'

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