Notes from Open Definition Call June 2014

Herb Lainchbury - August 10, 2014 in Meetings


  • Herb Lainchbury
  • Mike Linksvayer
  • Timothy Vollmer
  • Andrew Katz
  • Rufus Pollock
  • Luis Villa


  • Status of action items from previous meeting
  • OD 2.0 progress report and discussion
  • Approval process and license category proposed update, see


  • is there a date we’re shooting for on 2.0? no let’s just get it right, but there are a few licenses in the queue for review, for better or worse
  • 2.0: most edits been incorporated into the new draft
  • still open for comments

OD 2.0 review:

ACTION: Herb will push ahead and get us to 2.0 draft in as close to it’s final form and we will pick up the discussion from there. This will include taking out the comments as our goal is to make the points as clear as possible without the commentary. ( perhaps a separate “guide” document for reviewers would be useful instead of the comments and links that are in OD 2.0 draft right now.

  • Rufus suggested swapping section 1 & 2 (deferred)
  • Rufus suggested swapping section 1 & 2 (deferred)
  • remove sub-points on 2 (yes)
  • wording of “licensed rights” is legalese?
  • pull request on new wording for 2.1.3? aaron
  • new bold suggestion from aaron – patents and other legal restrictions; herb’s suggestion is to leave new things out at this point; for 2.0 we wanted to do a split and to have a positive tone; push to “good suggestions for next time”
  • mike: 1.1.3 says derivatives must be allowed to be distributed under same license, but suggestion is could be any open framework; let’s think about first principles and have it make sense to those not familiar with open licenses; basically would make 1.1.3 less specific; push to list for more discussion
  • impartiality stronger than non-discrimination; which to use? (rename to “non-discrimination”)
    • Quote: “The license must not discriminate against persons or groups of persons”
  • mike: conditions common in other open licenses but not listed as acceptable here? e.g. CC licenses wouldn’t be acceptable because no-DRM not listed at 1.2; will this become a laundry list? mike: we should have as close of a complete list as we can (similar to other definitions); new conditions that are weird should be able to be dealt with; stewards should be able to look at the list and know with high level of certainty whether their license is in compliance or not andrew: would free/open source software licenses be accepted under the definition? possibly but OD is built upon OSI; we don’t want to especially exclude them but OD not primarily serving them
  • Mike will suggest language for the 3 points he raised on the list ** “convenient and modifiable form” dealing
  • Kent’s suggestions: 1.1.8: should the def be saying “license must grant permissions” when in some cases no permission is required (e.g. public domain)
    • at top put note to the effect license grants permission unless no permission necessary – copyright – tweak wording in preamble?
    • Agreed changes:
      • 1.1 The license must irrevocably grant (or allow) the following
      • Introduction: The term license refers to the legal conditions under which the work is made available. Where no license has been offered this should be interpreted as referring to default legal conditions governing use of the work (for example, copyright or, in some cases, public domain).
  • AGREED: swap sections 1 and 2
  • Andrew: access must be free of technological obstacles too – looking at 2.1.2;
  • rufus: merge issue #7
  • create issues for existing troubling licenses – yes
  • ship by OKFest next month?

RP comments

Notes from Open Definition Call April 2014

Herb Lainchbury - June 6, 2014 in Meetings


  • Mike Linksvayer
  • Herb Lainchbury
  • Chiaki Ishikawa



Had some trouble with the hangout so had to create a new one as it seems the existing one wasn’t re-usable after all.  Will try this as calendar invitation in the future as well as the usual notice.

Discussion of OD 2.0

ACTION: Herb will push ahead and get us to 2.0 draft in as close to it’s final form and we will pick up the discussion from there.  This will include taking out the comments as our goal is to make the points as clear as possible without the commentary.  ( perhaps a separate “guide” document for reviewers would be useful instead of the comments and links that are in OD 2.0 draft right now.

Japanese Translation

Discussion about translations in general, consider a process for translations in general. ACTION: Herb to examine to existing “how you can help” text on OD web site and see if it needs more content about translation.

ACTION: Mike to put Japanese translation into github

ACTION: ? to notify Chiaki of the location of the Japanese translation

ACTION: Chiaki will fork the translation, make the changes and then make a pull request.

Suggestion from Chiaki: English could be the official version and other translations could refer to the English as the official version and translations are for convenience.

OK Fest

Agreement that this might be a good venue to finalize the OD 2.0 discussion if it’s not already accomplished by then.


Notes from Open Definition Call February 2014

Herb Lainchbury - April 4, 2014 in Meetings

Previous call notes.  Next call 2014-04-10 (2nd Thursday of even months) at 15:00 UTC.


  • Andrew Stott
  • Herb Lainchbury
  • Rufus Pollock
  • Mike Linksvayer


  • goals for 2014

  • review status of OD 2.0 as I feel we’ve not had sufficient time to discuss. we’ll have to try to keep this high level as it’s easy to get stuck in the details, which may be better discussed on the list.

  • heading review – Herb
  • intro – Mike
  • do we know what’s missing / problematic areas / areas of agreement?
  • next steps?
  • I would like a discussion of ideas around non-proliferation of Licenses. Is the OD 2.0 expected to address this? Is there something else we can be doing (refine the process, make it available to publishers).
  • do we want to continue to hold off on further license decisions until OD 2.0 is published? (BC and AB)


  • do we want to continue to hold off on further license decisions until OD 2.0 is published? (BC and AB) Summary


  • [Andrew] Section 4.1 review and then email the list
  • [Herb] Section 3.1 + 3.2 review and update (then email the list)
  • [Mike] Conformance process (recommendations)
  • [Andrew] ping potential PhDs re being “Open Definition Secretary” and overseeing license review process (checking on new licenses coming in, emailing the list, doing a first pass check (optional))

Discusions of v2.0 Open Definition

Current version

  • HL talked about how v2.0 calls for the separation of the test of the license from the test of a particular work.
  • like the way the works section
  • HL to edit section 3 (license) and make a recommendation
  • AS to edit section 4 (works)
  • we can discuss these things on the list
  • Delete 3.1.7 on privacy (invite kfogel to state the case for the privacy clause)

Agreed on having separate documents for Conformance process (see action}

All the stuff from recommendations in current open def draft (s3.3) Emphasize may be strictly conformant but will be heavily recommended against [Future] Commentary – e.g. privacy stuff

  • Consider adding a list of licenses (to the repo) that are in the queue to be looked at
  • RP proposed a license conformance secretary role


  • – FYI Notes re v2.0 possible headings
    1. Introduction
    2. Terminology
    3. Open Licenses
    3.1 Required Permissions
    3.1.1 Use
    3.1.2 Redistribution
    3.1.3 Reuse (formerly Modification - I may have missed why this was being renamed, maybe there is good reason)
    3.1.4 Separation (a new required permission?)
    3.1.5 Compilation (the positive form of v1.1 clause 11)
    3.1.6 Application (formerly Application to Any Purpose)
    3.1.7 Privacy
    3.2 Acceptable Conditions
    3.2.1 Attribution
    3.2.2 Integrity
    3.2.3 Access (formerly Access and Restrictions - not sure what this is for, downstream work? for later discussion)
    3.3 Recommendations for Open Licenses 
    3.3.1 Reuse (formerly Reusable)
    3.3.2 Compatible
    3.3.3 Coverage
    3.3.4 Understandable
    4. Open Works
    4.1 Mandatory Conditions
    4.1.1 Open License (formerly License and Licensing Information)
    4.1.2 Available (formerly Access)
    4.1.3 Open Format (formerly Absence of Technological Restrictions)
    4.2 Recommendations for Open Works

Open Definition 2013: assessment and lessons

Mike Linksvayer - December 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

Throughout 2013 fields such as open access, open data, open education, open government, and more saw unprecedented growth as policy and practice. The Open Definition played increasingly important and visible roles in fostering a shared understanding of “open” and helping increase interoperability and other best practices in implementation of open licenses.

The Open Definition is governed by an Advisory Council, which primarily conducts itself on the public od-discuss mailing list. The council’s 2014 chair is Herb Lainchbury. Some thoughts on 2013 from outgoing chair Mike Linksvayer…


  1. The license approval process works much better when it is more than just assessing whether a license conforms with the Open Definition — when license creators engage with the Advisory Council during license development. When a license is “thrown over the wall”, ambiguities not evident to the creators make approval difficult at best. This probably means the OD community needs to get help from the broader Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) and other “open” communities to spread awareness of the OD. Nobody in these communities wants more questionably open and probably incompatible licenses. How can we, for example, increase the probability that local activists know about the OD and can educate public sector officials they might come into contact with, before new licenses are developed?
  2. We already knew that the OD ought be made explicit about some issues OD 1.1 only implied answers to, hence work on OD 1.2 beginning in 2012. In 2013 we learned (at least I did) that a more substantial rewrite could also make the OD more understandable, and help us grapple with areas of uncertainty about what is good for the open ecosystem, and how the OD and/or the license approval process might help. Thus OD 2.0, in progress.
  3. All recent AC members have been personally invited to join. To expand global representation on the AC (see last assessment item below), personal invitations will be needed.

Assessment (and other notes)

At the end of 2012 I identified several important areas of work for the next yerar:

OKD v1.2 — we’ve seen license conditions cropping up that are certainly contrary to the spirit of the definition and implicitly non-conformant. It ought be possible for anyone with some understanding of public licenses to do a quick read of the definition and understand its meaning for a particular license without having to know all of the history of open definitions and licenses.

We decided to skip a clarifying OD 1.2 in favor of a rewrite, OD 2.0, in progress. 2.0 will not change the spirit of the definition, but will be even more clarifying, easy to understand (e.g., separating requirements for open licenses and open works), and provide guidance issues important to developing a healthy open ecosystem (e.g., interoperability and proliferation) in the most powerful and visible venue we have — the definition text.

We did not meet this objective in 2013, but the result (OD 2.0) in 2014 should be more impactful than previously aspired to.

By the way, we dropped “Knowledge” from the name of the definition in deference to how the OKFn staff and close community refer to the definition.

Review important new licenses and license versions for OKD compliance, e.g. Open Government License Canada, and version 4.0 of CC-BY and CC-BY-SA.

The biggest news in this department was probably the approval of the new OGL UK 2.0, which the OD community had given substantial feedback on over the course of two years. Kudos to the UK National Archives team!

We also gave feedback on OGL Canada and approved the license. While this was a positive development, we did not anticipate a proliferation of Canadian provincial and municipal licenses, each a variation on the federal license. We appreciate the engagement of federal and provincial staff and Canadian open data activists with the OD community and look forward to continuing this in 2014, particularly after OD 2.0 is finished.

At the end of 2013 we approved the recently released CC-BY-4.0 and CC-BY-SA-4.0. This approval was expected (previous versions were approved), thus not the biggest news. But I’m happy that we took the new versions through the normal approval process rather than letting them slide through, potentially with rough edges we would not accept from a new license steward. And one potential problem was raised in discussion on the od-discuss list and fixed by CC.

Some license conformance discussions have been outstanding for a long time, and probably will remain so. I’m fine with this: a bad decision is far worse than none in this context.

Moving linguistic translations into a git repository for better review and updating.

Done: current instructions. However, translations must be manually copied into WordPress, which is used to serve the OD site.

For this and other reasons I would prefer the whole site be static, all content in a public source repository. But, such a migration would take some work, and wasn’t on the agenda for 2013.

Improve explanations and graphics available on the OD site for anyone who wants to learn about open knowledge and services, and proudly announce to the world that their projects are open.

Not done at all, though rather important. If anyone wishes to take it up, the OD buttons page has some material that could be used. Again, a static site might make collaboration on updates easier.

Extend our work on license APIs that provide information about open licenses at and integrate with the main OD site; also look to cooperate with other projects providing Linked Open Data about licenses.


Develop a version git-based repository of license texts so they can be tracked over time.

On one hand, almost no concrete progress was made extending On the other hand, I’m very pleased that we’re progressing on working with (run by AC member Kent Mewhort) on common data needed for both sites, and about recent contributions by Engel Nyst, who is very familiar with related work done for open source software licenses (e.g., SPDX), and helping us build on that.

Provide regular updates about OD work to the broader OKFN network, open communities, and general public.

In February I posted on the main OKF blog about the OD’s role in protecting the foundations of Open Knowledge and in March on Open (per the OD of course) and the ‘next great copyright act’.

In October OKF CEO Laura James posted a 3-part series about OD on the main OKF blog:

Highlighting the role of the OD on the main OKF blog is great, and ought continue at opportune junctures, we didn’t do much more to provide updates to the wider community — a few cross-posts to the open-government list, and a previously linked announcement about OGL UK 2.0 conformance.

Recurring items that might be publicized to other lists as relevant, and perhaps whatever social media venues OKF typically uses:

  • Announcement of impending 2 week formal approval vote for new licenses
  • Announcement of license conformance approval decisions
  • Bi-monthly OD telecon notes
  • New OD translations
  • New AC members
  • Other significant OD website/API updates

Each positive license conformance decision might also be posted to the main OKF blog.

Growing out of discussions in 2006 and 2007, the OD project developed the Open Software Service Definition (OSSD), recognizing the complementarity of open content and data (knowledge) and open source web platforms and other network services that open knowledge is created, curated, and distributed on. The OSSD hasn’t been touched in a long time, but software services (some of them called “the cloud”) have become more important than ever, including in domains nearest to the OKFN community’s most active work, such as platforms used by and for open government. Shall we update the OSSD and revitalize evangelism for open services, or declare not a core competency, and look to other groups to take leadership?

We decided to keep the OSSD on the site, but “on the back burner”, keeping focus on the OD. I promised to clean up the messy OSSD page, but haven’t gotten to it. I still intend to (and doubt anyone else will, but please do if you’re inclined!), perhaps when I get around to writing an evaluation of the OSSD’s “freedom” counterpart, the Franklin Street Statement on Freedom and Network Services.

Whether the OSSD or similar eventually plays a defining (ahem) role, free/open source software and services are critially important for the futre of open data and other open knowledge (e.g., for collaboration, sustainibility, reproducibility, auditability for bias, safety, and more). This is one of my standard critiques embedded in praise and a recurrent topic in the OKF and other “open” communities, e.g., last month.

If you’re a legal or policy expert, software freedom advocate, linked data hacker, translator, designer, communications maven — and want to go “meta” about openness, we could use your help! Join the od-discuss mailing list and pitch into the discussion, start a new one, or lurk until you’re ready. Final decisions about license conformance and definition updates are made by the Open Definition Advisory Council. This is not a big time commitment, but it is a big responsibility. If you’d like to join the AC someday, join od-discuss today.

The list had a subscriber count in the 40s (I didn’t record the exact number) at the beginning of the year, 127 now. Will take that as success.

We’re especially keen to have AC members from every continent. Currently we only have Europe and North America, and recognize that’s a big problem for the long-term impact of the Open Definition project. Especially if you’re from the global South and care about the fundamentals of openness, please join od-discuss and get in touch!

This was on the agenda for some of the OD telecons through the year, but no progress in terms of AC membership. Lesson noted above: personal invitaiton is much more inviting than open-ended invitation. Embarrassing failure for 2013 that I’d be happy to help Herb & co. correct in the coming year.


To everyone who engaged with the Open Definition in any way during 2013, from detailed discussion of new licenses, to translations of the OD, to education and advocacy for OD compliance, both public and behind the scenes. Carry on!

Notes from Open Definition call December 2013

Mike Linksvayer - December 13, 2013 in Meetings

Previous call notes. Next call 2014-02-13 (2nd Thursday of even months) at 15:00 UTC.


  • Herb Lainchbury
  • Tom Lee
  • Mike Linksvayer
  • Rufus Pollock
  • Andrew Stott
  • Kat Walsh



New Open Definition Advisory Council chair for 2014

Herb Lainchbury! As discussed on-list.

Herb stated eagerness to improve the approval process. Mike will send to the list lessons learned from 2013. Biggest impression was that approval process works much better when it is more: license creators engage with the Advisory Council during license development. When a license is “thrown over the wall”, ambiguities not evident to the creators make approval difficult at best.

Open Definition 2.0

Walkthrough and structure of current draft. Comments and action items:

  • Rewrite introduction, highlight principle anyone/any purpose, possibly scope some way other than defining “knowledge”.
    • ACTION: Mike to draft.
  • Each item in definition should begin with stating the principle of the item, full stop. Examples should be clearly non-exhaustive.
    • ACTION: open for a volunteer!
  • Headings should be consistent — now some are one-word, others more prescriptive on their own. All prescriptive is a good goal, allowing a skimmer of headings to basically understand.
    • ACTION: Herb to attempt bringing all to consistent, prescriptive state.
  • Suggestion from Karl Fogel for an explicit statement about what permissions a license must require in order to protect licensee privacy. Discussion of whether this in practice is a license issue, or deployment/access/work issue. Registration/identification requirements seen in government data portals and their ToS, not quite the same thing.
    • ACTION: Mike to start discussion on-list, invite Karl to elaborate.
  • Discussion of how to address license proliferation in Open Definition 2.0, which is most powerful place to make a statement. We want to encourage only licenses that are good for the ecosystem, but not go so far as saying that a redundant license that is unambiguously open is not Open. How do we encourage folks developing indended-to-be-open licenses to engage early in their policy thinking — before the actual policy is established?
    • IDEA: Add a before-license-completed section to the approval process, encouraging would-be stewards of new licenses to consult with the Advisory Council.
    • IDEA: Outreach to potential license stewards, such that they learn of the Open Definition process before they have completed their licenses. Nobody in the “open” community wants more redundant licenses, each with own problems. What can OKFN and other organizations do to inform local activists and other networks that potential stewards might come in contact with early?
    • ACTION: Mike to start a thread on the list about non-proliferation of license(s) and how we might encourage the “right thing” in the OD.
    • ACTION: Herb to propose pre-completion process addition.

License review

CC-BY-4.0 and CC-BY-SA-4.0

No questions. Formal conformance vote will begin on-list in next day. The 4.0 licenses are much easier to read, read them: CC-BY-4.0 and CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Alberta, British Columbia OGLs, GeoLicence V1.2.1-Open

Revisit after release of Open Definition 2.0. See new on-list discussion: Provincial OGLs, GeoLicence


Defer discussion to on-line. See especially Engel Nyst’s contributions, including comment on licenses and opendefinition repositories.

Open Definition and License Proliferation

Mike Linksvayer - December 4, 2013 in PSI

License proliferation increases costs for publishers and users (more licenses to understand, evaluate, and comply with) and fractures the commons through incompatibility and non-open terms. The Open Definition Advisory Council and others have noted a surge in jurisdiction, sub-jurisdiction, and sector specific licenses intended for government data, or more generally, Public Sector Information (PSI).

Read recent posts by AC members Leigh Dodds and Mike Linksvayer, and highlighting the same issues in response to a European Commission consultation on PSI, from the Communia Association and Creative Commons.

A few themes you’ll notice across those posts:

  • The harm of license proliferation
  • Public domain as the ideal policy for PSI
  • Open Definition compliance as a harm reduction strategy, where public domain is not the default and new licenses are created

The last has been very much on the minds of AC members, and has informed our feedback on new PSI licenses in development (the OGL UK 2.0 is a notable success) and the approval process for new PSI licenses developed without our feedback.

It is also informing the development of Open Definition 2.0, which will not be a substantive change. Open will still be best summed up as “anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and/or share-alike.” But it is an opportunity to make the definition easier to read, and either through recommendations embedded in the definition, or stressed further in the approval process — discourage license proliferation and encourage whatever new license are developed to be maximally open and compatible with existing licenses.

If you’d like to help give feedback to license proposals, vet licenses submitted for conformance, and help write OD 2.0 and improve our process, please join od-discuss. If your government is developing a bespoke license, tell them to please consult with the Open Definition Advisory Council!

Notes from Open Definition call October 2013

Mike Linksvayer - October 16, 2013 in Meetings

Previous call notes. Next call December 12 (2nd Thursday of even months) at 15:00 UTC.


  • Baden Appleyard
  • Leigh Dodds
  • Herb Lainchbury
  • Mike Linksvayer
  • Max Merret
  • Kent Mewhort
  • Rufus Pollock
  • Luis Villa
  • David Wrate




Two posts by Laura James about OD on the main OKF blog

License review

OGL AB License and BC Licenses

David Wrate (Province of BC) began with a discussion of the BC license, asked for clarification on what the issues are with the BC license.

Herb began with a discussion of two main points that included 1) the difficulty in determining the applicability of the license because of the additional exemption clause, 2) the thought that someone might think that their use of a work

Kent reiterated by saying that the issue is just with the one clause, which is the exemption.

DW: discussed the province’s point of view about the concern about releasing information, perhaps in error, and then not having any recourse to get the data back. The province sees the FOI act that they have included in their license as a mechanism to resolve these issues.

BA: Clause 6 strikes me as a checklist for government officials to consider before releasing information, rather than being a necessary addition to a licence?

LV: sympathizes but it isn’t clear how this helps – surely one has recourse via the other acts.

DW: Fewer exemptions we have the better it is for everybody

RP: Comments on Baden’s typed in question : “What safeguard is there where material may have accidentally been released prior to the existence of this licence?”

ACTION: a policy position on exception / exemption

LV: why not use the generic “applicable laws apply” (after all, does not mean much since, yes, applicable laws apply). Better than having each individual law written into it.

DW: To answer the direct question: “What safeguard is there where material may have accidentally been released prior to the existence of this licence?”

There are provisions with the FOI Act that address the inappropriate release of material: Section 74.1 is fairly clear.

The purpose of the license is to grant permissions for the use of information covered by the license, identify what information is not covered by the license and broadly outline what is not permissible under the license.

The intent of the FOI exception in the OGL-BC exists solely to provide clarity about what material you have rights to use. The Act was named because:

  • the Province has one piece of legislation which clearly describes this what information is available, and
  • Because clarity on what data can be used helps achieve the goal of people using data.

Previous threads on the mailing list have noted that the Exceptions clause of the OGL is less than ideal because it creates uncertainty about whether the data can be used. If we can agree that jurisdictions have organizational risks they must manage for an open data program to exist, stating which law identifies material which cannot be covered by the license helps manage a risk.

That risk is further managed with policy and processes that provide checks and balances in the data publishing process to ensure that the Exceptions are never invoked.

I agree that a statement of “applicable laws” would encompass the FOI legislation. It also introduces a degree of uncertainty for users about which other laws might also apply.

I argue that a more general clause actually works against open because it give a licensor the potential to find other legislative ways to revoke the license. This potential has been discussed at length online; the outcomes of those discussions tend to favour a more precise description of what is not available for license.


The Australian Government Solictor Public Access Licences. (The AGS is not part of the Australian Government, it is a law firm that can only take federal government agencies as clients, and was formerly part of the Australian Government Attorney-Generals Department). Discussions within the Australian Government continue with respect to these licences and whether or not they are appropriate.

Open Game License

ACTION: start on-list approval process for license, with proviso that no “Product Identity” included, and if approved, put license in little-used/not-recommended category.

Open Definition 1.2

Next steps, if any, before making 1.2 final/current, or alternate strategy

ACTION: split out minor changes from major substantive change (section 12)

ACTION: review section 12 discussion on list (using a google doc as for commenting)

ACTION: continue to explore work/license split


Cleaned up version for freeze will not be ready; revisit in December

OD repository/API/etc and (and other related projects?)

ACTION: explore repositories for license texts and license metadata which can be collaborated on across projects and included in projects as git submodules.

AC membership

A few people considering if they could be OD AC chair in 2014.

Notes from Open Definition call August 2013

Mike Linksvayer - August 8, 2013 in Meetings

Previous call notes. Next call October 10 (2nd Thursday of even months) at 15:00 UTC.


  • Baden Appleyard
  • Herb Lainchbury
  • Tom Lee
  • Mike Linksvayer (chair)
  • Kent Mewhort
  • Peter Murray-Rust


Open Definition 1.2

  • Name (OD, not OKD), copyedit done; no comments during call, on-list welcome
  • Will CC BY/BY-SA be compliant? If not, feedback to them and/or on definition
  • ACTION: HL to post snippets of CC4 for discussion as required
  • ACTION: ML see if there is scope/people to raise at CC summit


  • ML does not have page cleanup discussed ready for deep storage, if move to October

Outstanding review of existing licenses

  • Alberta and British Columbia
    • Detailed discussion deferred to October, as some from AB and BC who wish to participate are on vacation.
    • ACTION: KM to review OD for whether concerns about complex and uncertain exemptions should be addressed directly
  • Calgary
    • ACTION: HL to send draft letter for Calgary to the list and if there are no objections within a week then he will send to Calgary
  • Datalizenz
    • DD at Wikimania; deferred to October
  • Open Game License
    • Proposed on-list, discuss
    • Feeling outside of OD expertise, perhaps scope. We will probably not address OGL unless additional case made to do so on-list.
    • ACTION: ML to say above on-thread
  • Others?
    • UK Parliament, HK mentioned on-list, not formally proposed
    • HK clearly non-conformant, but will discuss how to provide useful feedback next call
    • BA pointed out to be discussed in future

OD site/data/repository

  • HL – we are about ½ way through adding the conformant licenses to the repository
  • ML proposed that HL, ML, RP and KM get together separately (or as a topic of next regular call) to discuss overlaps and synergies between Kent’s license project and the repo that we’re creating on github.
    • ACTION: ML to put on agenda for next regular call; if others wish to have discussion before then, propose datetime…

New OD AC members

  • Leigh Dodds, Kent Mewhort joining, welcome
    • ACTION: ML to add to site, send welcome mail to list, will also mention below
  • Follow up on potential members from unrepresented areas, concrete suggestions wanted, to be raised again next call

Notes from Advisory Panel Meeting June 2013

Mike Linksvayer - August 3, 2013 in Meetings

14 June 2013


  • Baden Appleyard
  • Jo Ellis
  • Herb Lainchbury
  • Mike Linksvayer (chair)
  • Peter Murray-Rust
  • Rufus Pollock
  • Andrew Stott


  1. Release of O[K]D 1.2; see

  2. OKD or OD for the main definition name; see

  3. Disposition of OSSD (software service); see

  4. Outstanding review/notice of existing licenses

    1. 3 very similar licenses:

      1. UK OGLv2.0 with formal conformance request (live update on this if representative is on call)

      2. OGL Canada 2.0 with formal request our feedback on an earlier draft at

      3. OGL Alberta 2.0 informally forwarded to list for comments

    2. Datenlizenz Deutschland; we sent feedback, Daniel can update on response if on call; see

    3. City of Calgary Open Data License requested approval; discussion uncovered various problems; offer of more formal feedback not replied to should we issue formal non-conformance notice?

  5. Enhancing the submission and review process for licenses (including publication of results)

    1. Add proliferation policy?

    2. Other suggestions? Re publication, blog each accept/reject? Where?

  6. Does anyone want to work on See for some random thoughts.

  7. Future AC membership; zero members in global south unacceptable. Suggestions for invitation?

  8. Start thinking about who wants to/should chair in 2014

  9. Reminder to look over published bios

  10. Other outreach/collaboration

Call Notes

1. Release of O[K]D 1.2; see

  • RP: +1 on this. Perfect world we will get a diff in github for review.

  • ML: review of CC BY/BY-SA 4.0 for OD compliance

    • ACTION: HL to review with support from Andrew
  • ML: we should reach out to Open Access + Open Education

    • RP: [ACTION: RP] I can ask Ross Mounce for Open Access

    • Open Education: [ACTION: Baden] Delia Browne in Australia

  • ACTION: HL to review

2. OKD or OD for the main definition name; see

  • RP: Open Definition [for Data / Content / Knowledge] seems good.

  • Baden / Herb / Andrew: like breadth, simplicity of “Open Definition”

DECISION: Open Definition by default.

3. Disposition of OSSD (software service); see

Mike: In light of all this, how about this plan for the current term: * Continue with non-prominence of the OSSD on the site * I’ll prepare a minor update which just makes the page more presentable and send here for confirmation * Participants may or may not wish to re-evaluate in the next term (eg a new chair in 2014, or some other definition of “term”)

  • RP: I’m happy for keeping but not highlighting atm

  • RP: this is very important but we are not prioritizing atm

DECISION: as per Mike’s suggestions

4. Outstanding review/notice of existing licenses

*UK OGLv2.0 with formal conformance request (live update on this if representative is on call) ***l

  • RP: special appreciation to the process the National Archives has gone through on this

  • ALL: this appears to be conformant and a great improvement on the previous version.

  • DECISION: this will go to a final vote on list once we have an absolutely final version. Advice right now is this is conformant.

OGL Canada 2.0 with formal request our feedback on an earlier draft at

OGL Alberta 2.0 informally forwarded to list for comments

  • HL: OGL Alberta being used in the wild

  • ML: let’s ping them re fact there will be an update to OGL original

  • ACTION: HL you are going to review UK new version and compare with the OGL Canada + OGL Alberta and report to list

Datenlizenz Deutschland; we sent feedback, Daniel can update on response if on call; see

  • ACTION: [ML] Ping Daniel on list. Short summary of where we are at and can we publish the formal letter on the site news.

City of Calgary Open Data License requested approval; discussion uncovered various problems; offer of more formal feedback not replied to should we issue formal non-conformance notice?

  • RP: Let’s do it

  • ACTION: [HL] draft feedback post (markdown) and circulate to list for review

5. Enhancing the submission and review process for licenses (including publication of results)

  1. Add proliferation policy?
  • RP: strongly support this.

    • Explicitly: duplication is a reason to be resistant to reviewing conformance.

      • Require a statement of motivation and difference when someone submits a license
    • If they press we would not refuse to to conformance

    • Specific category of “recommended” licenses (versus non-recommended)

  • ML: cf process

  • ACTION: [ML] ping back to Kent on list

  1. Other suggestions? Re publication, blog each accept/reject? Where?

New process

ACTION: [ML] update as per this

Also correct ref to open source definition

ACTION: Add a menu item for process to top menu. Add info at top of licenses page to link to process.

ACTION: [RP] – merge licenses repo – see

ACTION: [RP] – plan for storing license texts –

6. Does anyone want to work on See for some random thoughts.

  • Does anyone rely on the specific json published at This may say something about how careful to be.

A few people.

  • is_okd_compliant and is_osi_compliant seem suboptimal names. OKD and OSI aren’t equivalents and “compliant” is vague; only “approved” would be unambiguous. Can these be changed? Noticed via

AGREED: change to od_approved, osi_approved

ACTION: [ML+RP] check with users

What does domain_content/data/software actually mean? Whatever the license creator says? What informed wisdom agrees with? What people do? What bodies have approved licenses? Noticed via

  • If UK OGL is really intended to be used with software — also via — should we not be recommending vetting by OSI? And/or depending on the meaning of “domain” per above, maybe not marking it as a software license.

RP: They really should go via OSI then

  • How are versions expected to be reflected in json published at Right now, they aren’t. If were used in building a chooser, as suggested on the site, what would choosing say

  • What are the 3 “other” licenses in about? I can’t figure out why their compliance statuses are listed as they are.

  • It seems a pity to not use the same short identifiers as … and probably easier, to link to the spdx page for each license.

RP: we could

  • I think it’d be grand to get out of wordpress, but not a pressing need. Anyone eager to do the work?

AGREED: this can wait.

  1. Future AC membership; zero members in global south unacceptable. Suggestions for invitation?
  • RP: Big +1 here

  • Suggest various people to invite:

    • ACTION: [AS] World Bank person

    • / US Gov

    • Global south


      • (RP can intro)

      • any other orgs we can think of

      • Moldova: [AS] follow up to see if there is someone

      • Russia: [AS]

    • Someone from UK National Archives

      • ACTION: [ML?] would you follow up with Jo Ellis
    • Research councils

ML: do we have a standard invite template?

A: nearly; what I used for most recent invites, will send to Andrew, Rufus

8. Start thinking about who wants to/should chair in 2014

9. Reminder to look over published bios

this is a wordpress site

10. Other outreach/collaboration

Feedback on Canada’s proposed Open Government Licence Agreement

Mike Linksvayer - January 31, 2013 in PSI

Below is feedback submitted today on behalf of the Open Definition Advisory Council regarding Canada’s proposed Open Government Licence Agreement. Thanks especially to Andrew Stott for substantial contributions to this feedback, Herb Lainchbury (currently the AC’s sole Canadian member; also see his personal blog entry on OGL-C) for pushing the AC on the pertinent issues over the past year, and Tracey Lauriault for bringing the comment period for the OGL-C to our attention.

Thank you for opportunity to provide feedback on the Proposed Open Government Licence Agreement.

The Open Knowledge Definition (OKD) sets out principles to define ‘openness’ in relation to content and data such that the “open” in open access, data, education, and government remains meaningful and interoperable. The OKD is led by an international Advisory Council.

We congratulate you for your excellent work. In particular we commend the absence of the two most problematic items found in the OGL-UK (“ensure that you do not mislead…” and “ensure that your use of the Information does not breach [data protection and privacy acts]“); such terms are redundant and harm interoperability.

A similar, further improvement we suggest is to move “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” from a licence condition to an exemption. This subtle change would ensure OKD compliance, and remove an unnecessary barrier to interoperability with other open licences.

Finally, we have three comments about items in the exemptions section:

  1. “This Licence does not grant you any right to use: … Information subject to other intellectual property rights, including patents and trademarks.” This might be placed even more strongly in the exemption category if merely stating that no patents are trademark permissions are granted, rather than removing any right to use information subject to any of these.
  2. It is unclear what “does not grant you any right to use…domain names of the Licensor;” means; control of a domain name is orthogonal to data licensing, and limitations on linking to URLs in a domain are harmful to an open Internet. To the extent that there needs to be protection it is already covered by the generic statement on trademarks.
  3. The complete exclusion of “personal data” raises the issue of personal data which is a matter of public record, for instance the names of senior officials or the names of Directors in a company registry. This is also an issue in OGL-UK. Some of these downstream uses may constitute “unfair processing” in terms (in the UK) of the Data Protection Act (eg using the data for a junk mailing list), but that is a matter for general law not the licence. At the moment the licence would seem not to cover any use of personal data such as published names.

We are available to expand on our suggestions as needed and to continue to help the Government of Canada on the drafting of the licence.

Open Definition Advisory Council