[OSGeo-Discuss] defining a Geospatial Integration Showcase to be launched at FOSS4G 2009

Christopher Schmidt crschmidt at crschmidt.net
Thu Oct 23 12:44:48 PDT 2008

On Fri, Oct 24, 2008 at 06:22:50AM +1100, Cameron Shorter wrote:
> Chris, and the geodata list,
> Your comments are valid.
> Does OSGeo have an official stance on data licencing? If not, I think we 
> should.
> Currently, the Australian government is moving licencing the majority of 
> their data (including geospatial) under Creative Commons.

I've been waiting for the Open Database License to move forward, since
at the moment, I see no licenses that make sense to license new geodata
under. OSGeo/Geodata committe has not expressed an opinion at this time.  

> The responses I've heard from Australian government about Zero Commons 
> is that the license is still in draft, and that a government will need 
> the license to move out of draft before a government can recommend 
> government agencies use it.

If the reason they're concerned is the CC0 license isn't actually
'done', would they really be willing to release their data with no legal
restrictions? If so, then the Public Domain Dedication
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/publicdomain/) seems sufficient,
simple, and not to offer any more or less legal protection than CCZero
seems intended to.

My expectation is that neither CCZero nor Public Domain dedications are
sufficient for most organizations, who would rather maintain Attribution
and Share Alike requirements (sometimes just the former). 

For those cases, the Open Database License
(http://www.opencontentlawyer.com/open-data/open-database-licence/) is
probably what most people want, but it also is incomplete: Jordan (who
was the primary lawyer behind the license) has not done any work on it
in a long time, and I don't see any evidence that it will ever be
completed at this point, which is a shame, since I've been pinning my
hopes and dreams for licensing on it for more than a year.

In any case, in the US, CC-By-SA has no practical meaning for factual
information, so any organization which actually seeks to protect their
databases of information via copyright (rather than just make them
available regardless of the things that will be done with them) should
be made aware that at least in some jurisdictions, the lack of
creativity (depending, of course, on the type of data) means that their
data can't be protected that way. (In other countries, database effects
kick in, and may have a different interaction with the CC licenses: 
in the US, even collections of pure facts are not protected.) 

Encouraging users to 'protect' their data with CC this way is a mistake
-- and if they don't actually care, then encouraging Public Domain
dedications of data seems like the right way to go.

> I assume this is the license being referred:
> http://wiki.creativecommons.org/CCZero
> ddi
> Christopher Schmidt wrote:
> >On Thu, Oct 23, 2008 at 08:21:03PM +0900, Venkatesh Raghavan wrote:
> >  
> >>Cameron Shorter wrote:
> >>    
> >>>If we find a data custodian who is keen to get their data into the 
> >>>Integration Showcase, what sort of criteria should we be specifying 
> >>>for that dataset?
> >>>What license?
> >>>      
> >>Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0
> >>Same as OpenStreetMap
> >>    
> >
> >Please do not encourage new data releasers to release geodata under
> >creative commons licenses. It has ben a source of major disagreements
> >with regard to openstreetmap, and I don't think it's any better for
> >anyone else.
> >
> >Geodata is not creative. Creative Commons licenses are written for
> >creative works. Even the Creative Commons people I've talked to don't
> >think geodata should be covered under anything other than 'CC Zero'.
> >
> >http://www.opengeodata.org/?p=262 sums this up quite well: if you
> >haven't read it, *Please do* before advising anyone who has not already
> >released data on license issues. 
> >
> >Regards,
> >  
> -- 
> Cameron Shorter
> Geospatial Systems Architect
> Tel: +61 (0)2 8570 5050
> Mob: +61 (0)419 142 254
> Think Globally, Fix Locally
> Geospatial Solutions enhanced with Open Standards and Open Source
> http://www.lisasoft.com
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Christopher Schmidt
Web Developer

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