Tag Archives: database

Open Data Commons; new draft attribution licence for data/databases

This item was posted on Peter Suber’s blog a couple of weeks back requesting futher circulation.  It points to draft text for a “Open Data Commons Attribution License (ODC-By)

The draft licence is still open for comments. http://www.opendatacommons.org/licenses/by/

According to the Peter Suber blog the work on this licence is addressing the need for:

“.. an open license for data/databases that provides for attribution but does not impose share-alike requirements. …”

The Open Data Commons website has some FAQs about why data licences are important.  They say:

“…licensing and definitions are important even though they are only a small part of the overall picture. If we get them wrong they will keep on getting in the way of everything else. If we get them right we can stop worrying about them and focus our full energies on other things.”

Nicely put!  Further on they explain:

“…you do need this legal stuff. Whether one likes it or not there are a whole bunch of jurisdictions in the world where there are IP rights in data(bases). Thus if you want your data to be open, even if that means public domain, you need to apply a license (or something very like a license).

For licence text already available visit http://www.opendatacommons.org/licenses/

Follow-up post; IP issues for development 2.0


Following on from yesterday’s blog post regarding development 2.0  there is plenty of evidence that some players in the non-profit world are already embracing these technologies and riding the Web 2.0 wave.   Another link from the PSD blog post was to an article outlining some examples of “development 2.0” projects.  http://web.fumsi.com/go/article/use/2496.  It came from a site that provides information and resources for data sharing (amongst other things).  Also http://www.web2fordev.net/ has a host of information on this topic.

There are of course intellectual property implications!  Many of these web based opportunities rely on data sets and of course collaborations between data sets are required for effective data sharing.  The fumsi.com article says:

“getting datasets out of their respective databases is certainly a challenge due to intellectual property issues and data interoperability”

So the message to IP practitioners is, by all means share — but beware!

Incorporating the power of the unintended into development work…


I have blogged a couple of times about “development 2.0“, as discussed on the Private Sector Development Blog of the World Bank.  On a recent post (today’s lead link) they say:

“One of the reasons why Development 2.0 is so hard for many traditional development players to embrace is that it challenges the linear thinking of logical frameworks and the (sadly) still deeply engrained assumption that a project needs to be a success almost by default if it is to get funding from donors.”

By way of example they link to a TED talk  about the unintentional uses of “twitter” 


The speaker talks through some of the user-generated uses for twitter, which started life as a “side project” and will no doubt be entering the English language as a new verb shortly, if it hasn’t done so already!

(If you watch the Ted Talk be prepared to feel sorry for the speaker at the end who becomes a victim of twitter’s real-time comments in a live setting…!)

The Facebook terms-of-service-saga raises important issues of ownership and rights when sharing data

The news that Facebook had updated it’s Terms of Use was quietly mentioned via the Facebook blog on the 4th Feb 2009.  Within a matter of days the news had spread into online campaigns against the move, with tens of thousands of users protesting online. By the 18th Feb NYTimes online reported that Facebook would withdraw its changes.

But, what a mess.  And what a huge dent to the trust Facebook enjoyed – and trust is critical if you want to people to share their information and data.   The lead link on consumerist.com analysed the legal clauses and this article was instrumental in the news gaining the attention it did.

We at CAS had some email exchanges about the subject.  Guat Hong Teh made the following comment bringing the issue into the focus of our work in the CGIAR.  She said:

“It’s easy to relate with applications like Facebook…the analogy to what we do with the centres is probably databases that centres create collating information/data ‘belonging to other people’.”

As the above mentioned NYTimes article says:

“Analysts say that much of the confusion and rancor this week stemmed from the fact that sites like Facebook have created a new sphere of shared information for which there are no established privacy rules.”

This may be true in legal terms, but the actions of the users suggest they already have their own very established idea about who owned the data.  Anyone setting up a data sharing environment should take note and be sure to think carefully not only about terms of use but how those terms might be interpreted.

Thanks to Sebastian Derwisch for sending today’s lead link.