[Freegis-list] Spatial Data Licence Question

Jan-Oliver Wagner jan at intevation.de
Tue Apr 10 08:48:57 CEST 2001


thanks Brett. You have put your finger right on the wound
(a german expression :-).

On Tue, Apr 10, 2001 at 11:41:22AM +1000, Brett Matson wrote:
> This may be an stupid question but it needs to be asked.
> I understand why source code must be protected under the GPL 
> or equivalent license, but why is it considered acceptable 
> to release spatial data as public domain? Couldn't the same 
> problems arise with people making data proprietary after first 
> modifying it? Is there an equivalent license that can be 
> applied to spatial data if necessary?

I consider it desireable to have spatial data protected in
the spirit of GPL. The GPL, however, is using terms more
related to Software than to data. Nonetheless, you will
find many spatial data packages licensed with the GPL.

I am collecting ideas for an equivalent license to
GPL/FDL for spatial data, but haven't found enough time
to sort things out. rms likes the idea in principle
and offers contacts to some experts, but he has no time
for that himself (and I agree: he has to work on other
important things no other one can do right now).

Of course with public domain status of spatial data
the same low protection of freedom is present as
it is for software.

Perhaps one day the FSF, FSFE or some sponsor can give
financial support to develop a 'spatial data public license'.
(It might make sense to develop a more general 
'data set public license')

I recommend to apply the GPL to spatial data until there is
a more adequate license. For those who are concerned with
the definition of linking can use the LGPL.


Jan-Oliver Wagner               http://intevation.de/~jan/

Intevation GmbH	              	     http://intevation.de/
FreeGIS	                               http://freegis.org/

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