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

Simon Cropper scropper at botanicusaustralia.com.au
Sat Jul 9 19:47:37 PDT 2011


Respondents need to do more than *just say they are happy* with Project 
Overviews being CC-BY. They need to *verify that the source material 
used in creation of this documentation* allows them to say they are OK.

My audit below suggests that the bulk of projects checked would not be 
able to do this.

Look at the GDAL discussion over the last few days. They have clarified 
the documentation is X/MIT licensed. This allows you to use the 
documentation *but* the LiveDVD needs to include the disclaimer that 
forms part of the licence deed at along with the documentation, so it is 
in some ways more like CC-BY-SA, not CC-BY. Looking at the discussion on 
the CC Website they equate the MIT licence to CC-BY-SA-NC.

It is a simplistic view that all that is needed is to have a project 
representative say that the documentation is CC-BY without providing 
evidence (paper trail) showing that this is the case.

On 10/07/11 06:54, Cameron Shorter wrote:
> Regarding results of my polling of projects about license. I sent an
> email to this list, then followed up with an email to the nominated
> project contacts for each project.
> I've had responses from all projects bar GeoMoose (a got one response
> saying they would respond later, but then seems to have forgotten).
> Almost all of the responses were along the lines of "Yes, I'm fine with
> CC-By for Overviews and CC-By-SA for Quickstarts".
> Simon Cropper who has written an excellent gvsig quickstart has noted on
> this list his preference for CC-By-SA to be used for Overviews. Simon
> also noted that we should collect people's responses publicly in order
> to ensure transparency, which is a good idea, and I'll follow through
> next asking for this confirmation.
> One person is still wanting to check the license of his source material
> for Overviews, and investigate some of the legal issues.
> But apart from that, everyone else was pro our license selection.
> So I'll send a following email asking people to publicly state their
> acceptance of the OSGeo-Live license policy on this live email list, and
> also comment on whether there is any source material which cannot be
> included in osgeo-live.
> On 06/07/11 10:03, Simon Cropper wrote:
>> 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.
>> Ian,
>> 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
>> - FDO
>> - GEOS
>> - 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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