[OSM-legal-talk] compatibility with CC licenses

John Wilbanks wilbanks at creativecommons.org
Sat Feb 28 17:42:57 GMT 2009

<merging several threads here>

I am not speaking for CC the organization here - there have been no 
conversations to my knowledge about doing a compatibility check between 
ODbL and CC licensing. But, I would remind everyone that the current 
official CC policy on CC licenses and databases - indeed, on any legal 
tools other than PD for databases - is the science commons protocol on 
open access to data, which calls for the PD position only.

This position comes from a goal of promoting interoperability across 
domains of data. We started out endorsing the use of CC licenses on the 
"copyrightable elements of databases" but not the data itself. After 
about three years of research we decided that was a really Bad Thing if 
what we wanted was data integration.

The experience with GFDL and CC is instructive - even when freedoms are 
similar, license compatibility is hard. We are trying to promote a web 
of integrated data, where one can take gobs of clinical trial data and 
gobs of geospatial data and mash them together, and if each group has 
share alike licensing with "slightly different" wording, then 
interoperability fails. Not to mention what happens when you have to 
deal with things like patient privacy from open medical data mixing into 
the share alike requirements from non-medical data. We found that each 
community has its own norms and desires, and that embedding those norms 
into licenses was very likely to result in non-compatible legal code.

Please see 
for the formal position on these things.


ps - Jordan's PDDL was the first legal tool to comply with the protocol, 
and we're looking hard at creating some formal norms language and tools.

More information about the legal-talk mailing list