[Live-demo] Liberal licensing of Project Overviews in LiveDVD, do we want this?

Simon Cropper scropper at botanicusaustralia.com.au
Tue Jul 5 17:03:35 PDT 2011

On 05/07/11 20:52, Ian Turton wrote:
> On 30 June 2011 05:31, Johan Van de Wauw<johan.vandewauw at gmail.com>  wrote:
>> On Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 2:30 AM, Simon Cropper
>> <scropper at botanicusaustralia.com.au>  wrote:
>> Project overviews are so small that even if a restrictive license
>> would apply, you could still get away with copying it completely as
>> sort of citation. We are talking about 2-3 sentences and a list of
>> features, which -I guess- in many cases have been at least partly
>> copied and/or inspired from/by other sources often not noting any
>> license and therefore copyrighted - so if you are so strict about
>> licensing I'm not even sure we can publish them ourselves.
> This sums up my feelings exactly - if the document we are concerned
> with is commercially confidential there is no way I can see any has
> copied my work so I can't enforce any licence anyway. So I don't
> really care, to be honest. The project overviews are so short and
> mostly derived from the project web site anyway I don't think it
> matters.
> I think the CC-BY-SA is right for the quickstarts where I have
> actually authored something that took me time and energy but the
> overview was mostly copy and paste any way so CC-BY is fine and we
> just have to trust people anyway since none of us is going to go to
> law over it if we even found out.


Your sentiments summed up the feeling of the broader community and 
consequently Cameron has proceeded with his proposal for CC-BY for 
Project Overviews and CC-BY-SA for QuickStarts.

Everyone keeps telling me that the Project Overviews are extracted from 
the project websites and have little or no creative content. Granted 
most are small but how much creative content is required before you move 
from CC-BY to CC-BY-SA? To me this is a thorny question but as 
demonstrated by the myriad of responses to this list and directly to 
Cameron (who was going to provide an email outlining the outcome of his 
enquires to the project contacts), I am alone at being concerned about 
this issue. So I'll leave this issue alone.

Another issue however is the blatant cut-and-paste mentality when 
constructing project overviews. This implies that text on the project 
website or associated documentation are appropriately licensed for this 
to occur.

*I am arguing that it is not*

I have conducted a brief audit of the OSgeo Projects Websites. I created 
the list of projects below from the main page of the OSGeo Foundation 
website - http://www.osgeo.org/ so the list is just a subset of what is 
on the Live DVD (hopefully an indicative subset).

I have grouped the projects based on the type of copyright...
Group 1. No copyright specified so local laws kick in
Group 2. Ambiguous or variable licensing (see notes), and
Group 3. Full 'all right reserved' copyright specified

My simple audit can be found at the bottom of this email.

Using information from Group 1 or Group 3 websites is not allowed 
without approaching the copyright owners and getting permission. This 
permission should be flagged at the start of a Project Overview with a 
disclaimer such as 'Reproduced with permission by Author 2011'.

The copyright for the Group 2 websites is at best ambiguous (see notes). 
I am not sure how GNU Affero GPL and GNU Free Documentation License 2002 
relates to CC-BY. This would be a matter for solicitors I suppose. 
Quantum GIS and GeoNetworks however is a little clearer -- documentation 
from these sites which is released under a CC-BY-SA license CAN NOT be 
re-released under a CC-BY license (this is contrary to the SA option).

So following my audit it is apparent that none of the source documents 
mentioned as being used to create Project Overviews can be simply be 
cut-and-paste from the project documentation, as everyone is telling me 
happens, without the authors of the derived documents being in breach of 
copyright. The only time this would not be the case is when the author 
of the Project Overview is the author of the original source document. 
In projects where hundreds are involved in creation of documentation 
this would be highly unlikely.

                      --- My simple audit ---

Group 1. Websites with no copyright notices (i.e. they do not state they 
are in public domain, CC0, CC-BY or CC-BY-SA). In  most jurisdictions, 
the author is automatically covered by a 'copyright - all rights 
reserved' option.
- deegree / homepage and wiki
- MapBuilder
- MapGuide Open Source
- OpenLayers
- gvSIG
- MetaCRS
- PostGIS

Group 2. Ambiguous or variable licensing
- geomajas - GNU Affero GPL is specified at the footer of
   the website. It is unclear if this 'software' licence
   relates to the software or the text on the page as this
   licence is usually applied to the former not the latter.
- Mapblender - Website has no licence specified. The PDF manual is
   GNU Free Documentation License 2002.
- GRASS GIS - Home page 'copyright - all rights reserved' license
   but wiki GNU Free Documentation License 2002.
- Quantum GIS - Home page 'copyright - all rights reserved' license
   but wiki CC-BY-SA.
- GeoNetworks - Home page 'copyright - all rights reserved' license but
   documentation released under CC-BY-SA

Group 3. 'copyright - all rights reserved' license specified
- Geoserver
- Mapfish
- MapServer
- GeoTools
- OSSIM - Home page, PDF documents and Wiki all under 'copyright -
   all rights reserved' license

Cheers Simon

    Simon Cropper
    Principal Consultant
    Botanicus Australia Pty Ltd
    PO Box 160, Sunshine, VIC
    W: www.botanicusaustralia.com.au

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