[Talk-ca] Crowdsourcing with Statistics Canada

Stewart C. Russell scruss at gmail.com
Sun Jan 22 04:03:56 UTC 2017


Hi Bjenk -

> I am not sure why there is confusion about Ottawa's ODL and it's
> equivalence to OGL because the information is public but here it is to
> clarify:
> 
> "The Open Data License is based on version 2.0 of the “Open Government
> Licence – Canada” which was developed through public consultation and
> consultation with other jurisdictions"

I sense your frustration, and understand that this process must be
trying. But it's partly an artifact of the licence itself.

The Open Government Licence - Canada, version 2.0 (OGL-CA) is compatible
with OSM's licence. This was confirmed in 2013:
https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/talk-ca/2013-November/005906.html

(Paul Norman tells me that there's an official notice somewhere from
Government confirming this, but neither he nor I can find it.)

Unfortunately, one trait of the licence inherited from its parent (the
Open Government Licence United Kingdom 2.0,
https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/2/)
is that it is not _reusable_. Here, reusable means that the licence is
not specific to an organization or jurisdiction. The OGL-CA has Her
Majesty the Queen in right of Canada baked in as Information Provider.
No-one but the Federal government can be that Information Provider. So
even if Municipality of X wished to adopt the “Open Government Licence -
X” by replacing ‘Canada’ with ‘X’, it would have to make textual changes
to the licence, and in doing so — and this is the critical part — makes
a new and different licence from the OGL-CA.

(Paul N. previously suggested that the UK OGL was more reusable, and had
better CC BY and ODC BY compatibility than OGL-CA.)

So we can't use Ottawa's data under the Federal OGL-CA.

Even with the best intentions, adoption of the OGL-CA results in
fragmentation. For example, there's the "Open Government Licence –
Ontario", the "Open Government Licence – Toronto" and the "Open
Government Licence - Toronto Public Library". All of these, though based
on OGL-CA, are *different* licences, and necessarily so. Accepting the
OGL-CA hasn't allowed OSM to automatically accept all the derivatives
under it.

(It also helps that OSM explicitly has a statement from the Federal
Government saying that we have permission to use their data. This
permission does not flow down to provincial or municipal data.)

If one happens to be a government, or a large commercial entity, one can
muster lawyers to ensure one's continued existence if there's a legal
challenge. OpenStreetMap doesn't have that luxury. In order to ensure
continuity of the OSM project, a degree of caution is required.

So while access to open data is valued by the community, it would be
lovely if someone could pay for all the lawyers needed to go over the
licences on behalf of OSM/OSMF too. To the best of my knowledge this
assistance has seldom been forthcoming.

Best Wishes,
 Stewart




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