[od-discuss] UK OGL Compliant?

Mike Linksvayer ml at creativecommons.org
Wed Oct 19 18:56:36 BST 2011

Hi Rufus and all,

I think the 3 clauses you've called out are quite problematic. IANAL
but "ensure" sounds burdensome, "official" is unclear, and "mislead"
is ripe for abuse. As the OKD draws much from the OSD, which itself is
based on the DFSG, I take license to call out the
http://people.debian.org/~bap/dfsg-faq.html#tentacles_of_evil test. I
think analogously, if an oppressive government comes to power, the OGL
provides built-in excuses for suppression of uses of "open"
information it finds disagreeable. Maybe this concern is over the top,
just putting it out there.

The clauses, even if OKD compliant, are also problematic for
compatibility with other licenses, though I don't understand why
sharealike licenses in particular -- eg can one practically adapt an
OGL work and release under CC-BY or ODC-BY? I know there's an
expressed intention to permit that, but downstream users would need to
be more careful than they'd need to be with a CC-BY or ODC-BY work
that doesn't incorporate OGL material. In any case it would be good to
document the OKD conformance approval process and in said
documentation encourage thinking about issues beyond narrow
conformance such as proliferation and compatibility.
http://opensource.org/approval may be a good place to start from.


On Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 4:47 AM, Rufus Pollock <rufus.pollock at okfn.org> wrote:
> To follow up, I've re-read the license and the Definition [1] one more
> time and perhaps I'm over-reading here.
> [1]: <http://opendefinition.org/okd/>
> While the additional "integrity" style clauses may be an issue for
> reasons I've outlined I don't think, strictly, they violate any of the
> Open Definition principles (the issue would be around (3) and (6) --
> reuse and integrity). As such the OGL would be compliant.
> If we assume the OGL is compliant it is worth thinking a bit further
> about what would happen if we had a proliferation of these form of
> minor, but substantive, additional requirements on users and reusers
> and whether a modification to the Definition is needed to handle these
> and ensure compatibility is maintained (this would be a separate
> thread, though).
> Rufus
> On 19 October 2011 10:54, Rufus Pollock <rufus.pollock at okfn.org> wrote:
>> Hi Andrew,
>> In fact, unfortunately, in my opinion is that it is *not* compliant
>> [1]. Specifically these additional restriction clauses are
>> problematic:
>> <quote>
>> * ensure that you do not use the Information in a way that suggests
>> any official status or that the Information Provider endorses you or
>> your use of the Information;
>> * ensure that you do not mislead others or misrepresent the
>> Information or its source;
>> * ensure that your use of the Information does not breach the Data
>> Protection Act 1998 or the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC
>> Directive) Regulations 2003.
>> </quote>
>> The first of these, may be ok (it's a pseudo-integrity clause) though
>> I worry about interaction with share-alike (and worry about how easy
>> to interpret it is).
>> The second of these is definitely problematic as it is additional
>> requirement that would probably be problematic with share-alike or
>> similar. I also think is a clause that creates a lot of uncertainty
>> (I'm a newspaper and use government data to write a news story. Can
>> the government accues me or misleading or misrepresenting the source
>> and hence void my license). It also seems one could achieve the intent
>> of this clause through other means -- simple notification, clear
>> statement about the mistake etc.
>> The last item adds a completely new requirement which again leads to
>> problematic interaction with other licenses. Also, I wonder why this
>> needs to be in the license. Surely breaching that act is an offence in
>> itself -- in which case why add to the license?
>> Rufus
>> [1]: http://lists.okfn.org/pipermail/od-discuss/2011-March/000032.html
>> On 18 October 2011 16:27, Andrew Stott <andrew.stott at dirdigeng.com> wrote:
>>> Herb
>>> As I recall the general view was that the UK OGL was compliant, but no-one
>>> had actually taken through the process to get it listed.
>>> Andrew Stott
>>> ________________________________
>>> From: od-discuss-bounces at lists.okfn.org
>>> [mailto:od-discuss-bounces at lists.okfn.org] On Behalf Of Herb Lainchbury
>>> Sent: 18 October 2011 16:15
>>> To: od-discuss at lists.okfn.org
>>> Subject: [od-discuss] UK OGL Compliant?
>>> Hi All,
>>> I have looked through the archives for an answer to this question but
>>> haven't seen anything.
>>> I am interested in the UK Open Government
>>> License http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/, and
>>> I think it conforms but it doesn't appear to be listed anywhere on
>>> the opendefinition.org site.
>>> Does anyone know if this has been discussed before?  Am I missing something?
>>> Thanks.
>>> --
>>> Herb Lainchbury
>>> Founder, OpenDataBC (Canada)
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> od-discuss mailing list
>>> od-discuss at lists.okfn.org
>>> http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/od-discuss
>> --
>> Co-Founder, Open Knowledge Foundation
>> Promoting Open Knowledge in a Digital Age
>> http://www.okfn.org/ - http://blog.okfn.org/
> --
> Co-Founder, Open Knowledge Foundation
> Promoting Open Knowledge in a Digital Age
> http://www.okfn.org/ - http://blog.okfn.org/
> _______________________________________________
> od-discuss mailing list
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