ODBL in the real world...

Posted by JohnSmith on 19 June 2011 in English (English)

For the longest time it was claimed ODBL would better protect data than CC-by-SA in some jurisdictions, with the US being one of those.

However the opposite seems true, since the above claim was based on the premise that creating maps wasn't a creative enterprise.

The ODBL doesn't place a limit on what license produced works can be licensed as, they can be published as PD/CC0.

In any case unless the copyright license contains no derivative clauses people are then able to derive data from produced works and that derived data can be used to build a vectorised database.

There is one clause here where countries with database rights, when the data re-enters those countries the database right might re-apply, but this doesn't apply for countries like the US (or Australia for that matter).

Although I'm told that the above section of Database Directive in EU is untested in court, and I think some CC licenses already waive database rights and going into the future I believe creative commons plan to include this in more licenses.

One more point for those that might claim this would be difficult to do large scale, SVG files like the ones publishes are produced works, even though they aren't raster images, so converting to SVG and then back to map data would potentially be pretty trivial.

In other words CC-by-SA protects data better than ODBL, which is the complete opposite that we keep getting told.

The reason CC-by-SA will protect map data is copyright laws cover maps and the creative effort that goes into making them, it doesn't care how the map is stored, so while database protections are usually tricky this isn't the case when it comes to maps.

Comment from Richard on 19 June 2011 at 15:39

And there endeth "John"'s final diary entry. Bye, "John".

Comment from JohnSmith on 19 June 2011 at 15:56

Thanks for validating my claims so succinctly, greatly appreciated...

Comment from z-dude on 19 June 2011 at 18:09

I thought the idea was to make the map more open.
I'd prefer a FreeBSD license.

Comment from daveemtb on 20 June 2011 at 14:22


I just don't know what to think about the whole licence thing, but I'm even more confused about Richard's post above...

Comment from Richard on 20 June 2011 at 16:40

John is an honourable chap and has said he doesn't want to be part of an ODbL project. As OSM yesterday moved to "ODbL+CT contributions only", aka Phase 4, I'm presuming he's going to take his considerable energies to a project with a licence he does agree with and that he therefore won't be here to post any more diary entries. After all, I can't imagine that, after decrying ODbL for so long, he'd want to continue to be involved with an ODbL-only project.

Comment from robert on 20 June 2011 at 22:41

JohnSmith, in all the harping on you've done about licensing in the past, you've never given me any reason to think you know remotely what you're talking about.

Comment from JohnSmith on 21 June 2011 at 03:54

robert for the longest time I was actually for the new license, it was the CT I was against, but it was people like your good self that encouraged me to look at the license and guess what, it turned out just as much of a poison pill as the CT.

Comment from robert on 21 June 2011 at 16:49

You mean I'm partially responsible for de-JohnSmith-ing our community?

*sniff* you've made me so happy.

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