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Draft of an Open Data Commons Attribution License

Jonathan Gray - January 12, 2010 in Legal, Open Data, Open Data Commons, Releases

Yesterday Open Data Commons released a draft of a new attribution license specifically aimed at data and databases. We would warmly welcome feedback on the new draft, and help circulating it to relevant parties (including legal experts, prospective users and so on)!

From the announcement:

Open Data Commons are happy to announce the first draft of an attribution license for data/databases:

A commentable version of the text is available here:

Feedback is actively sought and we would be grateful for any assistance in circulating this announcement to relevant communities and networks.

The license is heavily based on the Open Database License (ODbL), though obviously without the share-alike provisions! With its simpler nature and its solid base from the ODbL, we don’t anticipate as much work as with the ODbL to get this to a 1.0.

The present plan is to start out with this first comments round based ending around the start of February. Based on the feedback received we will then assess how many further rounds of revision and consultation will be needed.

Some particular questions that it would be good to have feedback on:

  • Is there any irrelevant matter that can be cut from the license (shorter is better!)
  • Is attribution wanted for produced works (at the moment it is)
  • What flexibility in attribution format/requirements should be supported


The drafting of this license has been prompted by a clear need in several communities for an open license for data/databases that provides for attribution but does not impose share-alike requirements. Following discussion last Autumn on the public discuss list work was started on this draft attribution license.

New open data from London Datastore

Jonathan Gray - January 11, 2010 in External, News, Open Data, Open Data Commons, Open Government Data

As you may well have seen, last Thursday the Greater London Authorities announced the new London Datastore:

> The Mayor of London will unveil plans for the capital’s first open data project which will see large amounts of previously unavailable information from City Hall released online.

> Similar to the hugely successful ‘Apps for the Democracy’ project in the United States the Mayor will be joined by President Barack Obama’s Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra and Linda Cureton, Chief Information Officer, NASA during a rare live web link up with the world’s largest electronics show, CES, in Las Vegas.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, also announced that there will be £200k from Channel Four’s 4IP to encourage people to make new useful services based on the data – which is excellent news!

Picking up from our international round up of open data on cities from last autumn, we’ve updated the package page on CKAN:

  • Is the data open? Though they don’t use a license or legal tool to make the data open, their Terms and Conditions appear to make the data open as in the Open Knowledge Definition. Nevertheless it would be good if they made this more explicit by using a legal tool such as the PDDL, ODbL, or CC0!

What data have they released? Speaking with Chris Taggart of Openly Local last week, we expected a fair few datasets to be sliced from existing sources such as the Office of National Statistics. But as Chris notes on his blog, it looks like there are plans to open up a lot more data, including new data from from Transport for London!

For more see:

Interview with Jordan Hatcher on legal tools for open data

Jonathan Gray - December 15, 2009 in External, Interviews, Legal, News, OKI Projects, Open Data, Open Data Commons, Open Knowledge Foundation

The Open Knowledge Foundation‘s Jordan Hatcher was recently interviewed by the Semantic Web Company about Why we can’t use the same open licensing approach for databases as we do for content and software:

Legal certainty is crucial when it comes to build business around new technologies. The Open Knowledge Foundation has started to tackle this problem with respect to Linked Data. Tassilo Pellegrini spoke to the Open Content Lawyer Jordan S. Hatcher about licensing issues in Open Data and got some practical advice to get started on a complex but crucial topic.

After the Open Data and Semantic Web Workshop

Jonathan Gray - November 20, 2009 in CKAN, Events, News, Open Data, Open Data Commons, Open Government Data, Open Knowledge Foundation, Talks, Workshop

Last week we had a workshop on Open Data and the Semantic Web in London. There were some excellent talks, demos and discussions – and documentation is now online!

As a result of discussions we had at the workshop, we now have two new volunteer positions at the Open Knowledge Foundation. If you’re interested in either of these positions, please get in touch.

  1. Editor for Linking Open Data Group on CKAN. As we announced a few weeks ago, we now have a Linking Open Data Group on CKAN, our open source registry of open data. We are looking for someone to help keep the collection of datasets up to date with the latest offerings from the LOD/semantic web community!
  2. LOD/ODC Community Liason. Open Data Commons are looking for an member of the LOD/Semantic Web community to join their Open Data Commons Advisory Council with their role being to exchange information between the two communities (e.g., explaining about open data licensing to LOD community and taking licensing questions from community back to Open Data Commons).

A big thank you to Talis for sponsoring the event, to the London Knowledge Lab for donating the venue, and, of course to everyone who came and participated!

For photos, video and slides you can see:

Slides from Open Data Session at ISWC 2009

Jonathan Gray - November 5, 2009 in Events, External, Open Data, Open Data Commons, Talks

The Open Knowledge Foundation’s Jordan Hatcher recently co-led a workshop on Legal and Social Frameworks for Sharing Data on the Web at the 8th International Semantic Web Conference. He was joined by Leigh Dodds and Tom Heath of Talis, and Kaitlin Thaney of Science Commons.

You can now see:

If you’re in the UK and you’d like to catch up with Jordan, Leigh and Tom about open data and the semantic web, you can also come to the Open Data and Semantic Web Workshop in London on the 13th November 2009!

Jordan Hatcher at ISWC 2009 by Tom Heath

Jordan Hatcher at ISWC 2009 by Tom Heath

OpenFlights data released under Open Database License (ODbL)

Jonathan Gray - October 14, 2009 in Exemplars, External, News, Open Data, Open Data Commons, Open Geodata


OpenFlights is a site for “flight logging, mapping, stats and sharing”.

We’re very pleased to hear they’ve just released their data under the Open Database License (ODbL):

One of OpenFlights‘ most popular features is our dynamic airport and airline route mapping, and today, we’re proud to release the underlying data in an easy-to-use form, up to date for October 2009. Behold 56749 routes between 3310 airports on 669 airlines spanning the globe.

The data can be downloaded from our Data page and is free to use under the Open Database License.

See also the OpenFlights package on CKAN:

ODC Open Database License (ODbL) Release Candidate 2 is Out

Rufus Pollock - June 15, 2009 in News, OKI Projects, Open Data, Open Data Commons

Open Data Commons, a project we help host and run, has put out its second and final “Release Candidate” of the Open Database License (ODbL).

As it states in the announcement:

The Open Database License (ODbL) v1.0 “Release Candidate 2” is now available at:

As expected there haven’t been many changes from the first Release Candidate. The two main alterations are:

  1. Removal of section 4.7 related to reverse engineering. This may be reintroduced in later versions but has been left out here in order to remove any possible concerns about license compatibility on Produced Works.
  2. Explicit statement that derivative databases used in the creation of Publicly Available Produced Works are also subject to share-alike.

With the completion of this second round of comments we believe this text is now in final “1.0” form. In order to allow interested individuals and communities time to review the latest set of changes, as well as to provide an opportunity to catch any last minute “bugs” we are going to provide a one final, brief, comment period closing on Friday 19th of June at 1200GMT. Full details on how to comment can be found on the ODbL home page.

In preparation for the 1.0 release we have also continued to improve the FAQs as well as providing a new open data guide. Any feedback on these is also very welcome.

Open Data Commons Release v1.0 Release Candidate for Open Database License

Rufus Pollock - April 30, 2009 in News, OKI Projects, Open Data, Open Data Commons

Open Data Commons, a project we help host, has put out a v1.0 “Release Candidate” for their Open Database License (ODbL).

As it states in the announcement:

This updated version of the license incorporates a whole set of changes arising out of the earlier comments period and the main changes are summarized below.

As the naming suggests, we believe this text is now very close to a “production-ready” 1.0 license. To allow interested individuals and communities time to review the latest set of changes, as well as to provide an opportunity to catch any last minute “bugs”, there will be a 1 week comment period starting today and ending at midnight next Wednesday (6th May). Full details on how to comment can be found on the ODbL home page.

In preparation for the 1.0 release we have also prepared detailed instructions on how to apply the license which can also be found on the ODbL home page. Any feedback on these is also very welcome.

Finally, we’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank-you to everyone who contributed to that process as well as a special thank-you to Jordan Hatcher, advisory board member and the person primarily responsible, not only for creating the original version of this license, but preparing this latest revision.

Summary of Changes

For the license, specific changes include:

  1. A variety of typos, grammar fixes and minor renaming
  2. Change “Publicly Convey” to “Use” as Trigger for SA
  3. Clarify “Publicly Convey”
  4. Change from “Data” to “Contents” for contents of DB.
  5. Introduction of proxy for specification of compatible licenses
  6. Clarification of what is required when making available of derivatives
  7. Reinstatement of terminated rights if breach ceases
  8. Move “How To Apply” section to website (not strictly part of license)

We have also prepared several new FAQs to address issues that were raised during the comment process, including:

  • Choice of Law
  • Enforceability
  • Confusion
  • Substantial
  • Upgrading (updated)
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