Sharing Data for Reuse and Remix

Diane Peters (Creative Commons)
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Attendees of OCSON are intimately familiar with the decisions surrounding software licensing: copyleft, attribution, and non-endorsement all mean something when discussing the licensing of source code. With the rise of aggregate data and “open data”, entrepeneurs and developers are turning their attention to data, often with the assumption that the same ideas apply. This is not the case.

Anyone who needs to draw from many databases is painfully aware of the difficulty of dealing with a myriad of differing and overlapping data sharing policies, agreements, and laws, as well as parsing incomprehensible fine print that often carries conflicting obligations, limitations, and restrictions. These licenses and agreements can not only impede reuse and research, they can also enable data providers to exercise “remote control” over downstream users of data, dictating not only what research can be done, but also what data can be published or disclosed, what data can be combined and how, and what data can be re­used and for what purposes.

The core insight behind CC0 is that the solution to these problems is to return data to the public domain by relinquishing all rights, of whatever origin or scope, that would otherwise restrict the ability to do research (i.e., the ability to extract, re­use, and distribute data). The goals of CC0 are to keep data open, accessible, and interoperable, and its virtues lie in its simplicity, predictability, and consistent treatment of users and data.

Creative Commons is developing technical and legal tools that will enable users to share their data without restrictions, while marking expectations associated with use such as citation. These “norms” provide a framework for communicating extra-legal information that is not part of the legal agreement, and is more appropriate for data sharing.

In this session we’ll give attendees background and details on why data licensing differs from source licensing. Examples of potential pitfalls will be presented, along with how they can be avoided by making different license choices. We’ll also discuss CC0, why we believe it is the best license for data, and how adopters like XXX are using it to share their data in a way that encourages use and research.

Attendees will learn about:

  • Challenges related to licensing data
  • Why assumptions from open source may not hold for open data
  • What CC0 is, and how it differs from the Public Domain
  • How CC0 may be used for releasing Open Data

This talk is appropriate for anyone interested in releasing and reusing large data sets, and the issues surrounding them.

Diane Peters

Creative Commons

As General Counsel for CC, Diane oversees the organization’s legal strategy, affairs and projects. She serves on the board of the Software Freedom Law Center. Prior to joining CC, she served as general counsel for Open Source Development Labs (now, the Linux Foundation), and thereafter was legal counsel to Mozilla. She is experienced at providing strategic advice and leadership on an array of IP issues impacting communities and the technology industry, including open source projects, FOSS licensing, and IP reform efforts and policy. Diane received a B.A. from Grinnell College in 1986 and a J.D. from Washington University in 1989. She is based in Portland, Oregon.

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