In the world of creative works, notions espoused by Lawrence Lessig
and others over a number of years are becoming increasingly well understood. A Creative Commons
license, for example, is recognised as giving the holder of rights an ability to prospectively grant certain permissions rather than limit use of their work by expecting all comers to request these permissions, again and again. Those rights are not
cast aside, removing all opportunities to protect your work, your name, or your potential revenue stream. Rather, you are provided with a means to explicitly
declare that your work may be used and reused by others in certain ways without their needing to request permission. Any other
use is not forbidden; those uses must simply be negotiated in the ‘normal’ way… a normal way that also
applied to those uses covered by Creative Commons licenses before the advent of those licenses.
Creative Commons licenses are an extension of copyright
law, as enshrined in the legal frameworks of various jurisdictions internationally. As such, it doesn’t really work terribly well for a lot of (scientific, business, whatever) data
… but the absence of anything better has led people to try slapping Creative Commons licenses of various types on data that they wish to share. It will be interesting to see what happens, the first time one of those
licenses needs to be upheld via a court!
, we have an interest in seeing large bodies of structured data available for use. Through the Talis Platform
, we offer one means whereby such data may be stored, used, aggregated and mined, although we clearly recognise that similar data may very well also be required in similar contexts.
Recognising that contributors of such data need to be reassured as to the uses to which we – and others – may put their hard work, we spent some time a couple of years ago drafting something then called the Talis Community Licence
. This draft licence is based upon protections enshrined in European Law, and has been used ‘in anger’ for a while to cover contributions of millions of records to one particular application on the Talis Platform.
There has been plenty of talk around ‘open data
‘ here on Nodalities
, and on our sister blog Panlibus
. See, for example, this recent post
from Rob Styles. There were also fascinating discussions
at the WWW2007
conference earlier this year.
Despite interest in open (or ‘linked
‘) data, licenses to provide protection (and, of course, to explicitly encourage reuse) are few and far between
. Amongst zealous early adopters, there does seem to be a tendency to either (mis)use a Creative Commons license, to say nothing whatsoever, or to cast their data into the public domain. None of these strategies are fit for application to business-critical data.
Building upon our original work on the TCL
, we recently provided funding to lawyers Jordan Hatcher
and Charlotte Waelde
. They were tasked with validating the principles behind the license, developing an effective expression of those principles that could be applied beyond the database-aware shores of Europe, and working with us to identify a suitable home in which this new licence could be hosted, nurtured, and carried forward for the benefit of stakeholders far outside Talis.
Today, Jordan posted the latest draft of this license
(now going by the name ‘Open Data Commons
‘), some rationale, and pointers to various ways in which he – and we – are seeking input and further validation.
As my colleague Rob (again!) has argued
, curators of data need
an option on the permissions continuum between
free-for-all and locked down. The Open Data Commons, née
Talis Community Licence, offers that option.
Take a look. Think about how you
would use it. Consider what sort of administrative framework you
would want behind such a license. Join the conversation