a data licensing problem

Russell Nelson nelson at crynwr.com
Sat Nov 9 00:48:22 UTC 2002

Lawrence E. Rosen writes:
 > > I have a problem that I would like y'all to consider.  A 
 > > company sells datasets.  They wish to cooperate with the 
 > > opensource folks to the extent that opensource folks can use 
 > > a free copy of their dataset. They would also like to be able 
 > > to sell that same dataset to people using proprietary 
 > > operating systems.  On the other hand, they would also like 
 > > to comply with the Open Source Definition.
 > A dataset is entitled to a copyright, albeit a thin one.  The individual
 > facts contained in it are possibly not copyrightable.  But the dataset
 > itself may be licensed on whatever terms the copyright owner wants, as a
 > copyrightable compilation, including under multiple licenses.  (You
 > omitted to tell us what the dataset contains.  The telephone book is
 > copyrightable, although the individual names and numbers aren't.)  

The dataset in question (yes, I'm being cagey) is definitely
copyrightable.  And yes, they can copyright it any way they want.
What they want, though, is a way to price differentiate.  They'd like
to be able to specify, for example, that the data could only be
distribute in conjunction with software which is OSD-licensed.  I
think that runs afoul of the OSD term that prohibits discrimination.

They'd *really* like to get the best of both worlds: cooperate with
people who share and stick it to the people who don't (or, um, can't.)

-russ nelson              http://russnelson.com |
Crynwr sells support for free software  | PGPok | it's better to be free
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