I don’t love (mostly) leaving Twitter; as I’ve said a few times, the exposure to different people there helped make me a better person. But one of my primary political concerns is the rise of fascism in the US, and that absolutely includes Elon and the people who enable him. I can’t quit cold-turkey; unfortunately, too many things I care about (or need to follow for work) haven’t left. But I can at least sleep well.
I just explained why open and copyleft licensing, which work fairly well in the software context, might not be legally workable, or practically a good idea, around data. So what to do instead? tl;dr: say no to licenses, say yes to norms.
Public licenses for databases don’t work well. Before going into solutions to that problem, though, I wanted to talk briefly about some things that are important to consider when thinking about solutions: real-world examples of the problems; a common, but bad, solution; and a discussion of the motivations behind public licenses.
tl;dr: Open licensing works when you strike a healthy balance between obligations and reuse. Data, and how it is used, is different from software in ways that change that balance, making reasonable compromises in software (like attribution) suddenly become insanely difficult barriers. Continue reading “Copyleft and data: databases as poor subject”→
tl;dr: Databases are a very poor fit for any licensing scheme, like copyleft, that (1) is intended to encourage use by the entire world but also (2) wants to place requirements on that use. This is because of broken legal systems and the way data is used. Projects considering copyleft, or even mere attribution, for data, should consider other approaches instead.