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

Simon Cropper scropper at botanicusaustralia.com.au
Mon Jul 11 15:35:57 PDT 2011


Ok course. If I can help in any way, I will.

On 12/07/11 06:20, Cameron Shorter wrote:
> Simon,
> Assuming it is ok with you,
> I'll rework the proposed text then run it past you for review, and
> hopefully we can send it out again with your blessing in the next day or 2.
> On 11/07/11 17:37, Simon Cropper wrote:
>> Cameron,
>> Some comments on your point of view.
>> On 10/07/11 21:55, Cameron Shorter wrote:
>>> Simon,
>>> 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.
>> Future contributions, if given clear guidelines (like you have
>> suggested) should not have to do any more than they would otherwise.
>> The issue here is respecting the copyright of already published works.
>> If someone has taken the time to specify a license they release
>> documentation under and others disregard this because it is
>> convenient, it sends the wrong message.
>> OSGeo is the premier open source GIS group. They should insist on
>> respecting others copyright and that contributors cite their sources
>> and ensure they are not in breach of copyright.
>> Every time I look into this issue I find people totally ignore
>> copyright. This is a legal requirement not something I have made up!
>>> My previous suggestion was what I consider to be the bare minimum, and I
>>> would consider it acceptable.
>> Your previous suggestion only required someone to say they were happy
>> for you to release the various documentation under CC-BY or CC-BY-SA
>> licence.
>> I remember when we discussed access to the Victorian Government
>> datasets you insisted I provide you with official documentation
>> verifying I was legally allowed to distribute this data. When I asked
>> you whether you asked all your contributors for such documents you
>> indicated that it was not common practice. My question is why is it
>> more important to ensure appropriate documentation is obtained for
>> government datasets and not others sources of educational material?
>>> 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.
>> As stated. In order to honestly sign the disclaimer you posted in this
>> thread, the authors would need to go back and look at the information
>> used as the source and verify they have permission to extract the
>> data. otherwise it is merely a means of OSGeo of saying "sorry your
>> Honor, we were lead to believe that the contributor had checked this."
>>> 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.
>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use
>> Reproduction of a work, in whole or part, to create a derivative that
>> consists entirely of this source text or images, is simply piracy or
>> more colloquially plagiarism. This is clearly stated repeatedly on the
>> website you refer to above.
>>> 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.
>> Ah! The nub of the argument...
>> "What is the chance of someone sueing OSGeo Foundation for breach of
>> copyright, when people are pilfering from source documents probably
>> created by the broader OSGeo community anyway".
>> If I wear my businessman hat, then the answer to this question is
>> practically none.
>> BUT
>> Taking a philosophical stance I would argue that people that create
>> derivatives are obliged to ensure that all source material is
>> appropriately licensed for them to use it in the way they intend.
>> If the license is not, then the copyright owners need to be approached
>> to ask for permission to use the documentation in the manner proposed.
>> If the licence is ambiguous , then again the copyright owners need to
>> be contacted.
>> The only time that works can be used without going back to the
>> copyright owner is when that owner has specified the licence under
>> which derivatives can be created, and your proposed works meet this
>> criteria.
>> As shown in my simple audit below. None of the source documents people
>> on this list stated were used to create the project overviews were
>> appropriately licensed for text to be extracted and rebadged in a
>> product like the LiveDVD -- regardless of the value of such a resource.
>> The issue here is respecting others copyright not whether your project
>> is of value or 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.
>> This is debatable. If someone has taken the time to license a work and
>> the LiveDVD sucks in their work and redistributes it contrary to the
>> license conditions, why would they be OK with this. Like most things,
>> they would be pragmatic about the situation and ask for the breach to
>> be resolved.
>>> But lets say someone is offended,
>> The legal term is "breach of copyright" or "copyright infringement".
>>> 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).
>> If Overviews are so easy to create. Why didn't contributors just
>> create new material and then we would not be having this conversation.
>> I am sorry you consider that this topic is a waste of time but in my
>> view is that if it is obvious that people are ignoring copyright in
>> the creation of documentation the lead open source group should
>> address this not say "oh well, we will address it if someone complains".
>> Also, I have clearly stated that you need not delay production of your
>> LiveDVD due to this discussion and that we agree to disagree on this
>> topic.
>> I will finish with these statements "(1) addressing copyright is
>> fundamental to document creation and need not be anymore a hindrance
>> to the creation of good work than inserting titles at the top of the
>> page, section headers throughout the text or doing a spell check; and
>> (2) not addressing copyright is either blatant plagiarism or shear
>> laziness; regardless it exposes an organisation that condones it to
>> legal action at one extreme, to being tainted with a bad reputation at
>> the other".
>> (c) Simon Cropper, CC-BY-SA 3.0 Australia
>> http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/au/deed.en
>>> 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

Cheers Simon

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

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