anselm at gmail.com
Mon Jun 30 16:45:58 PDT 2008
All social data products should be clearly licensed to 1) recognize, 2)
promote and 3) not hinder an inalienable right that we have to our own data
but also an inalienable right we have to the data of our peers where they so
agree to share it with us.
For MapServer this could be accomplished by letting people state the CC
license they wish. The implementation of that license should go out of its
way to facilitate the sharing so that there is no doubt as to intention.
This means encoding an open policy not just as a statement but as an API.
One that encourages access to this data without liability for at most a cost
recovery basis - privacy issues being respected. That's the highest bar.
By API I specifically mean;
- select for all edits by all persons over a geographic area that are
- select for just my edits
- bulk download at some not insane rate
What does it take for an organization to internalize open data principles at
the highest level rather than just having a business as usual default mode?
What does it take for Google employees to always instinctively say "oh, we
need to always always let users define the licensing terms?".
Maybe all product releases at Google should have a like 10 point inspection
for these kinds of issues because it keeps coming up.
Look at Flickr. Flickr actively goes out of its way to permit users to
declare the appropriate creative commons license and presents an API which
makes it easy to select for that data. How did Flickr even organizationally
get to that point? It is a courageous data policy as opposed to a data
Look at Wikipedia. They state an intention and purpose that acknowledges
and tries to respect our inalienable right.* "The license
Wikipedia<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia>uses grants free
access to our content in the same sense that free
software <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_software> is licensed freely.
This principle is known as copyleft <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyleft>.
Wikipedia content can be copied, modified, and redistributed **so long as
the new version grants the same freedoms to others and acknowledges the
authors of the Wikipedia article used (a direct link back to the article is
generally thought to satisfy the attribution requirement). Wikipedia
articles therefore will remain free under the GFDL and can be used by
anybody subject to certain restrictions, most of which aim to ensure that
We do know that more people will probably start doing mapping via a very
easy to use widely distributed highly robust well advertised service
leveraging already existing (closed) data with a significant support staff
that ties directly into the everyday email and web search tools as opposed
to a resource starved open source effort.
Once again there is that kind of curious Google genius that keeps cropping
up; like they can't really see the world from other peoples point of view.
Maybe if MapMaker had each trace licensed with a CC license then maybe it
would do better. Maybe not. Maybe truly free licensing would create a
bigger platform for everybody; foster an eco-system; encourage more brains
to look at the issues; take us all to a place where we could all see even
more interesting and bigger challenges... Or maybe MapMaker would be
crushed by the free giveaways by a thousand competitors eating at a free
buffet. Or maybe Teleatlas would sue for derivative works. Either way it
feels like the licensing terms are not a reflection of any mental muscle on
the subject - it looks like pro-forma knee jerk baggage from the circa 2000
ancient history of the web.
On Mon, Jun 30, 2008 at 3:00 PM, Ian White <ian at urbanmapping.com> wrote:
> You're not thinking about the developer community and Google legacy here.
> What G is doing is a fine (and smart) business arrangement, and it is their
> prerogative. What makes people like me and Steve angry is that the
> do-no-evil company is attempting to co-op yet another corner of the
> (traditional) open community. I'm the first guy to say greed is good, but
> not when you parade around touting the virtues of openness. And there's
> nothing new here--G's been doing this for some time, it's just that this
> seems to be such an egregious violation of the geo-trust they've
> established. It's not a conspiracy-minded belief, it's factual--google
> believes it can out-open the open community in geo, transit, wiki and other
> areas. But google gets to reap those benefits, unless something changes. For
> those of us who are active in this community, there's been increased
> consternation and criticism of G, and for good reason--it's all grown up and
> needs to start acting like it. The PR/goodwill is (slowly) fading. The
> masses are in love with google products, and I also think they are pretty
> damn good. But there's a cost. I love making money. But I don't behave in a
> way to make it seem that it is a necessary evil.
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