Open Data Commons Legal tools for Open Data Tue, 13 Feb 2018 09:25:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 114973043 Open Data Commons – Attribution License released Thu, 24 Jun 2010 20:55:21 +0000 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.

]]> 1 393
ODC-BY new draft available for comment Tue, 01 Jun 2010 19:18:14 +0000 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.

Draft of an Open Data Commons Attribution License Mon, 11 Jan 2010 22:08:57 +0000 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.

]]> 2 354
Jordan speaking at ISWC on open data Tue, 13 Oct 2009 20:12:28 +0000 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.

ODbL summary now up Sat, 12 Sep 2009 21:17:45 +0000 Matt Amos from the Open Street Map License Working Group has very kindly created a plain language summary of the Open Database License.

This summary gives a clear but simple guide to how the database and its contents can be used.

Thanks Matt!

Open Database License (ODbL) v1.0 Released Mon, 29 Jun 2009 11:06:16 +0000 We are delighted to announce the release of v1.0 of the Open Database License (ODbL):

The Open Database License (ODbL) is an open license for data and databases which includes explicit attribution and share-alike requirements.

This license, the first of its kind, is a major step forward for open data. There are currently very few licenses available suited to data and databases and none which provide for share-alike (existing share-alike licenses such as the GPL, GFDL and CC By-SA are all unsuitable for data).

The development of the ODbL, has been a major effort extending over more than one and half years with an intensive consultation and review period for the last 6 months. We’d like to express our thanks to the communities and individuals who have contributed during this time.

]]> 19 236
Open Database License (ODbL) v1.0 Release Candidate 2 Available Mon, 15 Jun 2009 15:21:18 +0000 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.

]]> 2 223
Making Your Data Open: A Guide Mon, 18 May 2009 10:28:06 +0000 We’ve started work on an ultra simple guide to assist people who want to make their data open:

We’ve been asked a lot recently for a simple HOWTO and this guide is one effort to address this.

This is a first draft and we’d really like to hear any feedback people have.

]]> 1 206
Open Database License (ODbL) v1.0 Release Candidate Available Wed, 29 Apr 2009 22:28:43 +0000 The Open Database License (ODbL) v1.0 “Release Candidate” is now available at:

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)
]]> 4 168
Open Database License Draft Available for Comments Fri, 27 Feb 2009 19:08:20 +0000 After more than a year of drafting and consultation with interested communities, especially Open Street Map, the current (beta) draft of the Open Database License (ODbL) was released for public comments today. We’re delighted to have reached this stage and welcome comments and suggestions from interested parties.

Comments are due by 23:59 GMT on 20 March 2009, with an expected launch of the completed ODbL on 28 March 2009. There is also:

]]> 2 152