Fwd: Re: [Live-demo] Impacts of OSGeo-Live document license selection on OSGeo

Simon Cropper scropper at botanicusaustralia.com.au
Sun Jun 26 22:51:38 PDT 2011

On 21/06/11 18:16, Cameron Shorter wrote:
> Simon,
> As you prompted this initial discussion with some well stated comments,
> I'm wondering whether you wish to add comment to this thread before we
> make a call on it.
> (My current expectation is that we will use CC-By for Project Overviews,
> and CC-By-SA for Quickstarts).


Sorry for the tardy reply. I have been on holidays for the last few 
weeks. I have however been watching the debate with interest whenever I 
had the opportunity.

Thanks for the opportunity to comment on the above proposal.


First of all let me say that I am only talking from my own point of view 
and not as an official representative for any of the projects listed on 
the Live-DVD. My only contribution has been a quickstart for gvSIG. Most 
of my musing regarding this topic was in preparation of the 
http://www.fossworkflowguides.com website.

*** POINT 1 ***

Regardless of what you settle on I would suggest that you choose one 
license not two. Having two licenses for essentially the same thing -- 
project documentation -- is confusing for future contributors. At some 
stage someone will be asking when something they are producing stops 
being a Project Overview and becomes a Quickstart, or visa versa, and 
what happens with the licensing.

It appears from the thread that Hamish was the main person not happy 
with Share-Alike, hence the CC-BY for the Project Overviews. No offence, 
but apart from some comment about being viral, I could not see any clear 
expression of what concerns Hamish had about this option for the CC 
licence. I will discuss the official difference below.

*** POINT 2 ***

If you compare the legal code for the CC-BY and CC-BY-SA license 
(unported) (ignoring a few differences in white space, typos and 
spelling errors and a few extra definitions), Clause 4(b) is the only 

The legal stuff states...

"4(b). You may Distribute or Publicly Perform an Adaptation only under 
the terms of: (i) this License; (ii) a later version of this License 
with the same License Elements as this License; (iii) a Creative Commons 
jurisdiction license (either this or a later license version) that 
contains the same License Elements as this License (e.g., 
Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 US)); (iv) a Creative Commons Compatible 
License. If you license the Adaptation under one of the licenses 
mentioned in (iv), you must comply with the terms of that license. If 
you license the Adaptation under the terms of any of the licenses 
mentioned in (i), (ii) or (iii) (the "Applicable License"), you must 
comply with the terms of the Applicable License generally and the 
following provisions: (I) You must include a copy of, or the URI for, 
the Applicable License with every copy of each Adaptation You Distribute 
or Publicly Perform; (II) You may not offer or impose any terms on the 
Adaptation that restrict the terms of the Applicable License or the 
ability of the recipient of the Adaptation to exercise the rights 
granted to that recipient under the terms of the Applicable License; 
(III) You must keep intact all notices that refer to the Applicable 
License and to the disclaimer of warranties with every copy of the Work 
as included in the Adaptation You Distribute or Publicly Perform; (IV) 
when You Distribute or Publicly Perform the Adaptation, You may not 
impose any effective technological measures on the Adaptation that 
restrict the ability of a recipient of the Adaptation from You to 
exercise the rights granted to that recipient under the terms of the 
Applicable License. This Section 4(?) applies to the Adaptation as 
incorporated in a Collection, but this does not require the Collection 
apart from the Adaptation itself to be made subject to the terms of the 
Applicable License."

In short...

"If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute 
the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one."

I do not understand why this would be of concern. In my mind it only 
purpose is to stop derivatives becoming closed documents -- if I release 
my original document to the world free of charge and derivatives should 
also be made available to the world free of charge, not to be used by a 
corporation for one of their commercial products where only paying 
customers can gain access to their derivatives. Corporations can easily 
get around 'this perceived problem' by releasing the modified 
documentation back to the public as well as including them in their 
official release documentation.

In recent times, this has been put forward as an alternative to the 
non-commercial option (see links for discussion).
- http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2005/9/11/16331/0655
- http://freedomdefined.org/Licenses/NC

If anyone is interested, a broader discussion of my views on these and 
other CC options can be found at the following location...
- http://www.fossworkflowguides.com/#contribute

In summary -- My interpretation of this clause is that it prevents 
people making derivatives from releasing their versions under a more 
restrictive license. In my mind, this is not a bad thing. Also I am not 
sure how it could be considered viral either.

*** POINT 3 ***

Realistically, document ownership belongs to each author. Therefore, 
authors should be allowed to choose a license they can use in their 
jurisdiction, as it will be the author that takes action in their own 
jurisdiction, if a breach of copyright is detected.

Choosing a CC-BY-SA unported license is one thing but this document does 
not always hold up in court due to variation in copyright laws 
throughout the world. Licensing should be specific to the country that 
the main author resides unless an unported licence does not exist. 
Moving from a CC-BY-SA for one country to another is allowed under the 
legal code and does not pose any major problem, except maybe a logistic 
one for the Live DVD team.

*** POINT 4 ***

Copyright details should be retained with the actual 'work' (i.e. 
Project Overview or Quickstart).

As each document is in itself a defined document (rather than a book or 
technical document) and can be pilfered and reused in other areas as a 
distinct document, copyright details should be provided with each 
document regardless of the format it is released (RST file or HTML file).

At present, on the Live DVD  documentation, authorship and licensing is 
ambiguous. Where some people have put license details in the RST file 
this has not been carried across to the HTML version. In fact, the HTML 
website looks as if it has been created solely by LisaSoft and OSGeo -- 
Foundation look at the bottom of EVER page -- it stated "© OSGeo 
Foundation and LISAsoft 2011" with no reference to the author or the 
licence the work is released. To me, two lines at the top of the page 
is, at minimum, essential -- one stating the author(s) and another the 
licence the work is released under. In addition, it is good practice to 
ensure all other works (images, data, etc) are appropriately cited and 
copyright details provided.

One solution is to include a metadata section at the end of each 
document like I have on my website (http://www.fossworkflowguides.com). 
Another solution is to include captions with pictures outlining the 
origin of works used, etc (e.g. This image has been reproduced with 
permission from the Commonwealth of Australia).

Cheers Simon

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

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