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

Cameron Shorter cameron.shorter at gmail.com
Sun Jul 10 04:55:15 PDT 2011

It is a delicate balance we have between covering our legal 
requirements, and putting so much red tape in place that volunteers 
don't contribute. I'd hate to see everyone's gifts of good will be 
hindered by red tape.

My previous suggestion was what I consider to be the bare minimum, and I 
would consider it acceptable.
I do agree that it would be an added bonus, and preferable, to also 
reference source material, and I am happy to encourage people to 
reference sources if they can readily identify them. But I don't want to 
mandate this as a criteria.

In the case of Project Overviews, which are brief summaries from 
external sources, I expect that the "Fair Use" clause is applicable, 
which says that you can use parts of copyright docs as part of a review. 

Lastly, it is sometimes worth checking the legal consequences of us 
getting the licenses wrong. Is someone likely to sue OSGeo-Live for 
inappropriately using material put into Project Overviews or 
Quickstarts? I think not. Actually, I think it very unlikely that owners 
of source material would be offended in the slightest. They'd be more 
likely to be offended if their material were not included. But lets say 
someone is offended, we can simply say "I'm sorry" then rewrite any 
offending material, as Overviews and Quickstarts are quite short, and 
only a minimal amount to work to recreate. (Or minimal compared to the 
time we are spending discussing licenses).

On 10/07/11 13:29, Simon Cropper wrote:
> Cameron,
> I don't think that this is too much to ask since people would need to 
> gather this information anyway to be able to 'sign' the disclaimer 
> that you outlined.
> All I am asking is that the paper trail is transparent.
> On 10/07/11 13:25, Simon Cropper wrote:
>> Cameron,
>> Maybe your suggested disclaimer could be augmented to state...
>> 1. The Project Overviews are based on the following material which was
>> released under the <insert name of license here> license.
>> - specify source material
>> 2. The <name of license> has been confirmed to be a permissive license
>> compatible with CC-BY.
>> - specify license type of source material
>> - may be multiple if derivative includes material from multiple sources
>> 3. The link to the source document is here...
>> - so other can check
>> 4. The link to the deed for the source document is here...
>> - so license terms can be verified.
>> - it also allows it to be clear what license or version of license the
>> documentation was released under. For example MIT has a variety of
>> varieties, as does Creative Commons. People need to verify and specify
>> which license was used and point to the deed.
>> After this *then* you can insert your disclaimer.
>> On 10/07/11 12:47, Simon Cropper wrote:
>>> Cameron,
>>> 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
>>>>> - GDAL/OGR
>>>>> - 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

Cameron Shorter
Geospatial Director
Tel: +61 (0)2 8570 5050
Mob: +61 (0)419 142 254

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