Open Knowledge

Open Definition

Defining Open in Open Data, Open Content and Open Knowledge

Non-Conformant Licenses

Creative Commons No-Derivatives Licenses

Creative Commons No-Derivatives (by-nd-*) violate OD 1.1#3., “Reuse”, as they do not allow works, in part or in whole, to be re-used in derivative works.

Creative Commons licenses with the Noderivs stipulation include:

  • Attribution-NoDerivs (by-nd)
  • Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (by-nc-nd)

Creative Commons NonCommercial

Creative Commons NonCommercial licenses (by-nc-*) do not support the OD 1.1#8., “No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor”, as they exclude usage in commercial activities.

Creative Commons licenses with the non-commercial stipulation include:

  • Attribution-Noncommercial (by-nc)
  • Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (by-nc-sa)
  • Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (by-nc-nd)

Project Gutenberg License

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Used on Gutenberg’s ebooks of public domain texts. It is non-open because it restricts commercial use. Note that the license only applies if you continue to use the Gutenberg name - if you remove the licensing information and any reference to Project Gutenberg then the resulting text is open.

Discontinued Licenses

Creative Commons Developing Nations License

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The license has been discontinued. Creative Commons developing nations license does not support OD 1.1#7 “No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups”.

Open Publication License

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Discontinued in favour of Creative Commons. In late 2004 the site was overhauled and turned into a portal to open academic content. In August 2007, David Wiley, the author of opencontent lauched the draft Open Education License.

License is not conformant if either options A or B are added to the main body of the license. Option A prohibits ‘substantive modification’ and option B prohibits commercial use of printed copies.

UK PSI (Public Sector Information) Click-Use Licence

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Formerly used for a variety of material produced by UK central and local government.

Ancillary information from the Office of Public Sector Information can be found at:

Was also known as the core licence. Below we provide an excerpted version that includes the relevant sections.

This license is not open. A probably incomplete list of clauses that make it so:

6. How the Material may be reproduced

Does not grant permission to make any adaptation – only translations “by a competent translator” and conversion to formats for the vision impaired. Not conformant with OD 1.1#3.

Nearly every point in the Obligations section is problematic. Some are odd for a public license (which this tries not to be), so I’ll just note the problematic ones that have been discussed recently regarding UK OGL – may-not-imply-endorsement and do-not-mislead:

9.6 not use the Material for the principal purpose of advertising or promoting a particular product or service, or in a way which could imply that it is endorsed by a Department or a Public Sector Organisation;

9.7 not use the Material in any way that is likely to mislead others;

Of course the first part of 9.6 is also non-conformant with OD 1.1#8.