[OSGeo-Discuss] Promoting freely available geodata

Jo Walsh jo at frot.org
Wed Mar 28 00:30:52 PDT 2007

dear Tim, all,
On Wed, Mar 28, 2007 at 02:45:26PM +0800, Tim Bowden wrote:
> On of the aims of OSGeo is the promotion of open geodata.  From
> conversations I've had with various people over time it appears one of
> the difficulties data providers may have with this is licensing.
> There's no obvious candidate license for open geodata. 

Right, providing useful information about open geodata licensing is
part of the Mission of the geodata committee. There is generally a lot
more on the wiki/list than there is on the main site.
http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/geodata/2007-March/000428.html and
the followups to the most recent thread on this topic...

>  Do we need something like OSI approved licenses for geodata? 
There are at least 2 parallel efforts to establish an equivalent
definition at the same level as "OSI compliance" for open data:

> Are there any existing OSI licenses that suit? 

I doubt it, aren't they software licenses not data licenses? 
Creative Commons style is a better bet, CC-BY-SA is what OpenStreetmap
uses, for example. There is also a bit grey area regarding database
rights vs. copyright, geodata is both a database and a literary work,
the situation is very different in US from in EU, etc... :/

> If so, we should be pointing to them.

Nod. Collating a 'reference guide' out of the wiki links, bits of
discussion etc above has been on the Geodata Committee todolist awhile.
I have just not had time to prioritise this. Contributions welcome :) 

> Do we need input from those with a legal clue? 

Chris Holmes has been talking to Science Commons and CC people about
this a bit, i think. Through OSM there is some proxy advice and on the
OSM-legal-talk list a lot pragmatic back-and-forth about licensing
collectively contributed open data. Legal clue can be most useful when
there are really specific questions, and those vary so much depending
on the stance of the data provider and where they are located...

> Should we be talking to OSI about this?

I heard rumours that OSI were working on another "open data
definition" type project but never got any responses back when i asked
about this. If you have a better connection there, sure, go for it, i
would like to know where the commonality is...



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