Archive for the ‘Licensing’ Category

OpenAIRE Legal Study has been published

Monday, January 20th, 2014

OpenAIRE Legal Study has been published

From the post:

Guibault, Lucie; Wiebe, Andreas (Eds) (2013) Safe to be Open: Study on the protection of research data and recommendation for access and usage. The full-text of the book is available (PDF, ca. 2 MB ) under the CC BY 4.0 license. Published by University of Göttingen Press (Copies can be ordered from the publisher’s website)

Any e-infrastructure which primarily relies on harvesting external data sources (e.g. repositories) needs to be fully aware of any legal implications for re-use of this knowledge, and further application by 3rd parties. OpenAIRE’s legal study will put forward recommendations as to applicable licenses that appropriately address scientific data in the context of OpenAIRE.

CAUTION:: Safe to be Open is a EU-centric publication and while very useful in copyright discussions elsewhere, should not be relied upon as legal advice. (That’s not an opinion about relying on it in the EU. Ask local counsel for that advice.)

I say that having witnessed too many licensing discussions that were uninformed by legal counsel. Entertaining to be sure but if I have a copyright question, I will be posing it to counsel who is being paid to be correct.

At least until ignorance of the law becomes an affirmative shield against liability for copyright infringement. 😉

To be sure, I recommend reading of Safe to be Open as a means to become informed about the contours of access and usage of research data in the EU. And possibly a model for solutions in legal systems that lag behind the EU in that regard.

Personally I favor Attribution CC BY because the other CC licenses presume the licensed material was created without unacknowledged/uncompensated contributions from others.

Think of all the people who taught you to read, write, program and all the people whose work you have read, been influenced by, etc. Hopefully you can add to the sum of communal knowledge but it is unfair to claim ownership of the whole of communal knowledge simply because you contributed a small part. (That’s not legal advice either, just my personal opinion.)

Without all the instrument makers, composers, singers, organists, etc. that came before him, Mozart would not the same Mozart that we remember. Just as gifted but without a context to display his gifts.

Patent and copyright need to be recognized as “thumbs on the scale” against development of services and knowledge. That’s where I would start a discussion of copyright and patents.

Licensing Your Code:…

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

Licensing Your Code: GPL, BSD and Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” by Bruce Berriman.

From the post:

I have for some time considered changing to a more permissive license (with Caltech’s approval) for the Montage image mosaic engine, as the the current license forbids modification and redistribution of the code. My first attempt at navigating the many licenses available led me to believe that the subject of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” was not oppressed by society but simply trying to find the best license for his software.

The license, of course, specifies the terms and conditions under which the software may be used, distributed and modified, and distinctions between licenses are important. Trouble is, there are so many of them. The Wikipedia page on Comparison of Free and Open Source Licenses licenses lists over 40 such licenses, each with varying degrees of approval from the free software community.

Not that I have any code to release but I assume the same issues apply to releasing data sets.

Do not to leave licensing of code or data as “understood” or to “later” in a project. Interests and levels of cooperation may vary over time.

Best to get data and code licensing details in writing when everyone is in a good humor.

Data miners strike gold on copyright

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Data miners strike gold on copyright by Paul Jump.

From the post:

From early September, the biomedical publisher, which is owned by Springer, will publish all datasets under a Creative Commons CC0 licence, which waives all rights to the material.

Data miners, who use software to analyse data drawn from numerous papers, have called for CC0, also known as “no rights reserved”, to be the standard licence for datasets. Even the CC-BY licence, which is required by the UK research councils, is deemed to be a hindrance to data mining: although it does not impose restrictions on reuse, it requires every paper mined to be credited.

In a statement, the publisher says that “the true research potential of knowledge that is captured in data will only be released if data mining and other forms of data analysis and re-use are not in any form restricted by licensing requirements.

“The inclusion of the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication will make it clear that data from articles in BioMed Central journals is clearly and unambiguously available for sharing, integration and re-use without legal restrictions.”

As of September, the NSA won’t be violating copyright restrictions when it mines Biomed Central.

Being illegal does not bother the NSA but the Biomed news reduces the number of potential plaintiffs to less than the world population + N. (Where N = legal entities entitled to civil damages.)

You will be able to mine, manipulate and merge data from Biomed Central as well.

That’s not science: the FSF’s analysis of GPL usage

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

That’s not science: the FSF’s analysis of GPL usage by Matthew Aslett.

From the post:

The Free Software Foundation has responded to our analysis of figures that indicate that the proportion of open source projects using the GPL is in decline.

Specifically, FSF executive director John Sullivan gave a presentation at FOSDEM which asked “Is copyleft being framed”. You can find his slides here, a write-up about the presentation here, and Slashdot discussion here.

Most of the opposition to the earlier posts on this subject addressed perceived problems with the underlying data, specifically that it comes from Black Duck, which does not publish details of its methodology. John’s response is no exception. “That’s not science,” he asserts, with regards to the lack of clarity.

This is a valid criticism, which is why – prompted by Bradley M Kuhn – I previously went to a lot of effort to analyze data from Rubyforge, Freshmeat, ObjectWeb and the Free Software Foundation collected and published by FLOSSmole, only to find that it confirmed the trend suggested by Black Duck’s figures. I was personally therefore happy to use Black Duck’s figures for our update.

I wasn’t real sure why this was an issue until I followed the link to On the continuing decline of the GPL where I read:

Our projection also suggests that permissive licenses (specifically in this case, MIT/Apache/BSD/Ms-PL) will account for close to 30% of all open source software by September 2012, up from 15% in June 2009 (we don’t have a figure for June 2008 unfortunately).

Permissive licenses work for me, both for data as well as software.

Think of it this way: Commercial use of data or software is like another form of commercial activity, the first one is always free. Do good work and you will attract the attention of those would would like to have it all the time.

Licensing Open Data: A Practical Guide

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Licensing Open Data: A Practical Guide

Lutz Maicher posted a tweet about this guide earlier today.

I would take seriously its suggestion to seek legal counsel if you have any doubts about data you want to use. IP (intellectual property) in any country is a field unto itself and international IP is even more complicated. Self-help, despite all the raging debates about licensing terms and licenses by non-lawyers, is not recommended.

Should not be a problem so long as you are using IP of a client for that client. Is a problem when you start using data from a variety of sources, some of which may not appreciate your organization of the underlying data. Or the juxtaposition of their data with other data, which places them in an unflattering light.