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Monday, December 17, 2007

Open Data getting more recognition

The OD part of ODOSOS is getting more and more attention, and it seems that Peter's Open Data battle is paying off (see his original OpenData article in Wikipedia): an open data specific license has reached the beta stage (see this announcement).

The idea behind this licenses seems to come down to:
    Facts are free. The Rightsholder takes the position that factual information is not covered by Copyright. This Document however covers the Work in jurisdictions that may protect the factual information in the Work by Copyright, and to cover any information protected by Copyright that is contained in the Work.

I am looking forward how this license will be picked up by the community. PubChem may be a good candidate to use this license; to formalize their dump into the public domain. Not just yet, though, because things might still change. It is said that a wiki will be set up to ask for feedback. Paul has written a nice writeup on the history of this license.

I particularly like the quote by Tim O'Reilly from this blog:
    One day soon, tomorrow's Richard Stallman will wake up and realize that all the software distributed in the world is free and open source, but that he still has no control to improve or change the computer tools that he relies on every day. They are services backed by collective databases too large (and controlled by their service providers) to be easily modified. Even data portability initiatives such as those starting today merely scratch the surface, because taking your own data out of the pool may let you move it somewhere else, but much of its value depends on its original context, now lost.

In the past I have argued for the CC-BY license, and so does Peter in this recent comment on a post by Deepak on educating people about data ownership. Interestingly, the new license proposes to remove ownership as solution to free the data :)