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Draft of an Open Data Commons Attribution License

- January 11, 2010 in Licenses, News and events, ODC-By

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.

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.

Open Database License (ODbL) v1.0 Released

- June 29, 2009 in Licenses, News and events, ODdL

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.

Open Database License (ODbL) v1.0 Release Candidate 2 Available

- June 15, 2009 in Legal, Licenses, News and events, ODdL

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.

Making Your Data Open: A Guide

- May 18, 2009 in News and events, Open Data

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.

Open Database License (ODbL) v1.0 Release Candidate Available

- April 29, 2009 in Legal, Licenses, News and events, ODdL, Open Data

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)

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.

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.

Wilbanks interview out

- February 29, 2008 in News and events

FYI, Richard Poynder’s interview with John Wilbanks, VP of Science Commons, is available and discusses open data.