[kwlug-disc] GPL attachment to data files

Richard Weait richard at weait.com
Thu Nov 12 08:36:45 EST 2009

On Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 1:50 PM, Insurance Squared Inc.
<gcooke at insurancesquared.com> wrote:
> I dug up the gov't site's policy. It's a bit vague, but they basically leave
> it as in the public domain.
> But I don't think public domain means I can slap GPL on it - it's not my
> copyright.  But I can distribute it.  So I think I'll jsut to two downloads,
> one for the calculator, one for the data.

"Public domain" means you can do as you please and you get to take
responsibility for your actions.  You can relicense it, make it
proprietary, modify it and use it in a way that violates the Toronto
Workplace Smoking Bylaw.... It's all on you now.

So you CAN slap GPL on it, but GPL is unsuited to data; GPL is a
software license.

If you'd like to distribute the data you can do so under your own
license, an established open data license, no license at all, or with
a note saying, "Hey, It's PD."  I'd lean towards the latter with a
link to the original source.

If you generate some data of your own and want to Open it, I strongly
recommend the works of the Open Data Commons [1] particularly the

[1] http;//opendatacommons.org

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