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Open Data Commons – Attribution License released

- June 24, 2010 in Licenses, ODC-By

Thanks to everyone for their feedback on the licenses and their help with the project. We can now announce a new license to the Open Data Commons family, the ODC Attribution License (ODC-BY) license. This is a database specific license requiring attribution for databases. This makes ODC-BY similar to the Creative Commons Attribution license, but is built specifically for databases. As a legal tool that only requires attribution, it complies with the Open Knowledge Definition, the Open Knowledge Foundation‘s standard around defining the rights behind what something means to be “open”.

ODC-BY homepage at:

Plain language summary of the ODC-BY is up at:

Final license text at:

For those preferring plain text:

Thanks for everyone’s help, particularly Rufus and the ODC advisory board.

ODC-BY new draft available for comment

- June 1, 2010 in Licenses

We’re going to have a short comment period on the latest version of the ODC-BY license, which has a few changes based on some feedback we received and added text that was discussed as part of the Open Database License revision process.

Here is a summary of some of the changes and a few points about how it compares to the Open Database License.


Just to make explicit some of the changes as compared to the ODbL: We’ve trimmed out some of the explanatory material in the preamble to make it shorter. This text just explains to the reader some more of the context of how to use the license. We’ll have more of this kind of stuff up on the Open Data Commons site.

4.0 Conditions of Use

We reinstated 4.2a from the ODbL, slightly modified as there is no share-alike provision here. This simply states that you must only “Publicly Convey” the Database under the terms of the ADbL license.

This means that we’ve shifted the lettering back to a-d.

The new 4.2b and c has a slight edits in drafting. This oversight also needs correcting in the ODbL, which we will keep track of and propose in the future.

“Licensing of others”

4.8 from the ODbL needs to be in the ODC Attribution License. This clause makes it clear that it is a direct relationship from the Licensor to all users. It has been renumbered to 4.4.

TPMs and parallel distribution is out

This is just to make explicit something that is already present in the first draft that has been available for commenting — Section 4.7 of the ODbL has not been transferred to the ODC-BY license. The attribution license should in my opinion be a fairly liberal license in that it should allow a wide set of use. That’s why 4.7 from the ODbL is not present.

In comparison, the MIT / BSD style of open source licenses don’t have anti-TPM clauses, but the Creative Commons licenses do (it’s in 4.a in the CC-BY- 3.0 unported license). CC doesn’t have a parallel distribution clause at all.

Let us know what you think. Given the interest in getting this out and the extended initial comment period, please have comments back by end of the day on Tuesday 8 June 2010.

Jordan speaking at ISWC on open data

- October 13, 2009 in News and events

Legal and Social Frameworks for Sharing Data on the Web

Open Data Commons co-founder and co-author of the PDDL and ODbL, Jordan Hatcher, will be speaking at the International Semantic Web Conference in Washington DC on the 25th of October on open data, including on the Open Data Commons set of licenses.

OKF is also hosting a London event on 13th November: Open Data and the Semantic Web. See the link for more details on how to register.

- December 4, 2008 in Open Data, “the world’s largest database of freely-licensed library
records”, is now beta-testing:

…and they appear to be using the Public Domain Dedication and Licence — Thanks!

As we build up some infrastructure, we will start posting about other users as well (and I know that there are a few others already using it).

Updates on the Open Data Commons project

- November 26, 2008 in About

It may not look like it, but there has been some movement behind the scenes here at Open Data Commons. Lately, we’ve set some goals for restructuring the website and organisation behind the licences, so stay tuned for further updates. We’ll soon have greater ways for people to participate, including areas for volunteers and contributors. Until then…

Science Commons opinion piece on free and open data

- April 24, 2008 in News and events

Thinh Nguyen, Counsel for Science Commons, has posted a piece on free and open data to the Science Commons site. In it, he references our work on the Public Domain Dedication and Licence.

Freedom to Research: Keeping Scientific Data Open, Accessible, and Interoperable [PDF]

Science Commons blog post announcement: Nguyen on keeping data open and free.

State of the Map | 12-13 July | Limerick, Ireland

- April 18, 2008 in News and events

Just a quick note to say that I’ll be speaking on open data, law, and licensing at State of the Map on 12-13 July in Limerick, Ireland. State of the Map is the annual conference for Open Street Map.

Registration is now open.

PDDL new text available

- March 15, 2008 in PDDL

Public Domain Dedication and Licence v.1.0 

The new materials are up!  The first draft has been archived and links to the original text will be posted.  I’ve just updated the page that the PDDL was originally on. The Community Norms statement was not updated.


Added various text in the preamble in order to clarify it a bit.

Deleted “Database Directive” definition and incorporated it into “Database Right” definition as was only used in the database right definition.

New 2.2, old 2.2 changed to 2.3.  New 2.2 as outlined in blog post below with some amendments: Proposed additional clause post
Include “completeness” after “accuracy” in Section 5.1

There is no FAQ up detailing use — the Open Data Commons project is a volunteer effort at this time and so a FAQ will be forthcoming as we are able to devote time to it. Thanks however must go to Talis for sponsoring the initial draft creation.

Please do not link to the PDDL text as a means of using it: Copy the text to your own site or place it in the file as appropriate after you’ve consulted with appropriate counsel about using the document.

PDL to go out of beta – 15 March

- March 12, 2008 in About, PDDL

At the Open Knowledge Convention in London on Saturday, March 15th, I will make a short presentation on the Open Data Commons Public Domain Dedication and Licence and announce its release out of beta. By the end of the day on Monday I will have all the changes finished and up on A detailed FAQ will still be in the works, as this project at the moment is volunteer led. If you’d like to contribute a FAQ or to financially support the development of a FAQ and additional materials, please contact support ]at[ this site’s Thanks!

Speaking at OII on Open Data Commons

- March 6, 2008 in News and events

Implementing Open Data: The Open Data Commons project

Location: Oxford Internet Institute, 1 St Giles, Oxford, OX1 3JS. This event is open to the public. If you would like to attend please email your name and affiliation, if any, to: [email protected]

Perhaps surprisingly for some, data and databases are not a ‘rights free’ area where no intellectual property rights apply. Open Data Commons was started to provided free and open source software and Creative Commons style licensing solutions for data — open data. The legal tools being developed have implications both in terms of open access to scientific research and in enabling the semantic web. This talk will discuss the Open Data Commons legal tool — the Public Domain Dedication & Licence — and place this work within the greater context of open access and new generations of web tools.

About the speaker

Jordan Hatcher is a lawyer and researcher with a focus on intellectual property and Internet law, especially issues surrounding open licensing solutions such as Creative Commons and open data. He has a JD in law from the University of Texas, and a, LLM in IP and IT law from the University of Edinburgh. Jordan is also the author, together with Dr Charlotte Waelde, of the Open Data Commons set of legal tools.