[Talk-GB] OS OpenData now OGL

Michael Collinson mike at ayeltd.biz
Thu Feb 19 11:42:08 UTC 2015

This is really good news and thank you Rob for flagging it.  Thanks also 
to the unknown folks at OS who have been working on this ... it follows 
through on a promise made to me in 2010 that they would look at.

As cautioned by Rob, do wait until 
updates before jumping into CodePoint data with abandon ... it is from a 
not very open friendly third party and the OGL does allow exemptions for 

I believe also that this will be good news for ?English Heritage, 
(sorry, I live in Sweden),  data users as it removes an ambiguity over 
which of their data is covered by OGL and which by the now retired OS 
OpenData license.

On the change from OGL 2 to OGL 3, I am a bit less enthusiastic. I sat 
down with a large cup of coffee, compared them line by line and made the 
notes below.  The thing to highlight is the change to the "You" 
definition which does possibly shift some of concern about the OS 
Opendata license into the OGL itself. The usual caveat: IANAL.


The non-trivial changes between OGL 2 and OGL 3 are as follows:


"You must, where you do any of the above:  acknowledge the source of the 
Information by including *or linking to* any attribution statement 
specified by the Information Provider(s) and, where possible, provide a 
link to this licence; "

This is good news.

Additional wording:

"If you are using Information from several Information Providers and 
listing multiple attributions is not practical in your product or 
application, you may include a URI or hyperlink to a resource that 
contains the required attribution statements."

This is good news, it follows practise that we have set up in OpenStreetMap.

'You',*'you' and 'your'* means the natural or legal person, or body of 
persons corporate or incorporate, acquiring rights *in the Information 
(whether the Information is obtained directly from the Licensor or 
otherwise)* under this licence.

This could potentially imply that users of OpenStreetMap data for the 
UK, for example to make a map, might have to additionally attribute the 
OS, (or other bodies). Just being paranoid here but I think it is worth 
following up.  On the other hand in both OGL 2 and OGL 3 is this 
explicit statement:

"These terms are compatible with the Creative Commons Attribution 
License 4.0 and the Open Data Commons Attribution License"

The wording of the latter is at http://opendatacommons.org/licenses/by/1-0/

Since the ODBL and Attribution License share common ancestry on 
attribution drafting, then quite likely we are compatible too by 
extension.  But it needs some one to sit down and compare both licenses. 
Apologies but I lack time these days.

On 18/02/2015 19:41, Owen Boswarva wrote:
> (I should clarify that by "compatible" I meant forward-compatible 
> rather than interoperable. OGL data is suitable as an input to a OdBL 
> dataset, but not vice versa.)
> -- Owen (@owenboswarva)
> On 18 February 2015 at 18:04, Jo Walsh <metazool at fastmail.net 
> <mailto:metazool at fastmail.net>> wrote:
>     I asked @owenboswarva on Twitter who is an active voice whom i
>     trust on open government data issues, and he said this:
>     "IMO the only significant difference is v3 explicitly permits
>     re-users to list multiple attributions via a URI or link.
>     ...the differences are mostly just tidier syntax. If you are happy
>     v2 is compatible with OdBL (IMO it is) then v3 is also."
>     zx
>     --
>     Jo Walsh
>     metazool at fastmail.net <mailto:metazool at fastmail.net>
>     On Wed, Feb 18, 2015, at 12:04 AM, Rob Nickerson wrote:
>>     On 17 February 2015 at 23:57, Matthijs Melissen
>>     <info at matthijsmelissen.nl <mailto:info at matthijsmelissen.nl>> wrote:
>>         I could imagine that OGL-3 has imported OS ODL's clause on
>>         sublicensing that caused incompatibility with ODbL, which
>>         would make
>>         OGL-3 incompatible with ODbL.Do we have confirmation that
>>         this is not
>>         the case, i.e. that OGL-3 and ODbL are compatible?
>>         -- Matthijs
>>     All the OGL versions are online. A comparison of v2 and v3 shows
>>     nothing to worry me. Hopefully Robert W will chip in as he's
>>     clued up on all this.
>>     Version 3:
>>     http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3/
>>     Version 2:
>>     http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/2/
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