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Re: [baseball-databank] Digest Number 1186

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  • Peter Kreutzer
    I like the sound of what you re suggesting F.X., because it might improve the BDB data and give more access to more data to everyone, and because it seems like
    Message 1 of 12 , Apr 1, 2011
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      I like the sound of what you're suggesting F.X., because it might improve the BDB data and give more access to more data to everyone, and because it seems like it might reduce work that would otherwise be duplicated.

      But as long as there is the potential for public free access to the SABR/Palmer dB to be withdrawn, for any reason no matter how apparently obscure, it seems prudent to keep the BDB dB alive (as newsgroup and annual release, at least) as a fallback. It doesn't sound like there's any reason for that not to happen.

      FX, can you point us to the definitions of a community of interest, the procedure to become one, and the obligations of such a community? 
    • F. X. Flinn
      Peter, here is the entire section on Reseach committees, chapters and chartered communities from the SABR policy manual, which is available to SABR members on
      Message 2 of 12 , Apr 1, 2011
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        Peter, here is the entire section on Reseach committees, chapters and chartered communities from the SABR policy manual, which is available to SABR members on the members-only portion of www.sabr.org, specifically at http://sabr.org/about/organizational-files

        You know, in thinking about BDB, I realize now that the existence of BDB has allowed SABR to deprioritize discussions around making data downloads available. Oddly enough, if BDB had formed within SABR instead of outside of it this probably would have happened long ago -- 800 members clamoring for the functionality would have made an impression. Instead the board looks at the landscape of how baseball researchers needs are met and unmet and sees that BDB exists, so why replicate it? As was pointed out earlier, the fact that the Palmer data in BDB is circa 1993 and lacks a lot of corrections Pete's made since then just doesn't make that much difference to most BDB users.

        Anyway, from the policy manual:

        G. Committees

        2. Committee Chairs
        a) Committee Chairs shall make their required National Convention reports in concise written form by
        May 30 to be included in the registration materials.
        b) The Committee Chairs shall meet annually at the National Convention to receive updates from the
        Executive Director and President, and to discuss among themselves any issues they see as
        significant.

        3. Committee Finances

        a) Research committee budgets shall be approved by the Executive Board and funds shall be provided for
        committee expenses in the annual budget of the Society.
        b) Committee chairs shall be authorized to expend these Society funds to facilitate carrying out the duties
        and functions assigned to the committee.
        c) Committee funds shall not be used for travel expenses, unless specifically authorized for that purpose
        by the Executive Director.
        d) Committee Chairs shall approve and submit to the Executive Director vouchers, invoices, and/or
        receipts for payment or reimbursement.
        e) Reimbursements for committee expenses are provided only upon submission and verification of
        receipts (originals or copies) documenting expenses.
        f) Committee chairs are encouraged to limit Society-related telephone calls for which they request
        reimbursement.
        g) Solicitations of donations or grants from foundations or other sources must be approved by the
        Executive Director.
        h) Committee projects requiring financial support beyond normal budgetary expenses or with significant
        income potential shall be outlined and submitted to the Executive Director at least one month prior to a
        regularly scheduled board meeting at which approval is requested. The submission shall provide
        details regarding the project and the financial requirements of the project. The Executive Director shall
        distribute the submission to members of the Executive Board at least one week prior to the Board
        meeting.
        4. Creation of Research Committees
        a) Proposals for the creation of research committees shall be submitted to the Executive Director at
        least one month prior to a regularly scheduled board meeting at which action is requested. The
        Executive Director shall distribute such proposals to members of the Executive Board in a timely
        fashion.
        b) Proposals shall include:
        1. a statement regarding the purpose and goals of the proposed committee, in accordance with the
        objectives set forth in Article II of the Constitution; and
        2. a statement or statements regarding the need for the proposed committee; and
        3. a list of at least ten SABR members who have expressed a willingness to join the proposed
        committee if formed; and
        4. the name of a willing and able SABR member to act as committee Chair as well as the name of
        one or more willing to serve as vice-chair;
        c) Upon review of research committee proposals as outlined above, the Executive Board shall, by
        majority vote, establish research committees and appoint committee Chairs.
        d) Research committees are required to:
        1) produce at least two newsletters each year; and
        2) have at all times a chairperson; and
        3) hold a meeting at the annual convention; and
        4) at all times have at least ten working members in good standing;
        5) if established after January 1, 1999, act in accordance with the statement or statements
        regarding that committee’s purpose and goals.
        6) distribute copies of newsletters to committee members, SABR Board members, SABR
        Committee chairs, the Executive Director, and other individuals or organizations as directed by
        the Executive Director.

        5. Ownership of Committee Work

        All committee files, research, research materials and other items, both in electronic and hard copy form are
        the property of the Society. All chairs must be prepared to pass along any such material promptly to their
        successor. If shipping costs are incurred, they will be reimbursed after submission of appropriate receipts to
        the Executive Director.
        If the committee embarks on a committee project, all volunteers should be informed in advance in writing
        that any product created is the property of SABR and the dispersion of any monetary benefits will be at the
        discretion of the Executive Board.
        6. SABR Research Committee Publications
        All research committee publications shall display the current SABR copyright notice.
        Research committee newsletters should serve both as a forum for the exchange of research information as well as
        an outlet for the publication of pertinent research articles.
        7. SABR Research Committee Membership

        Members of the Society have the right to serve on any research committee.

        8. Probation of SABR Research Committees

        A research committee may be placed on probation if the Executive Board, by majority vote, determines that:
        a) the actions and/or status of the Committee do not meet the requirements outlined in the SABR Policy
        Manual, or,
        b) the actions of the committee are not in the best interests of SABR.
        An appropriate period of probation shall be determined by the Executive Board in conjunction with the decision
        to place a Research Committee on probation. The decision to place a research committee on probation may be
        followed by the appointment of a new committee Chair and/or Vice-chair(s). The decision to place a research
        committee on probation shall not necessarily be construed as a sanction against the committee Chair and/or
        Vice-chair(s).
        A research committee may, at any time, be removed from probation if the Executive Board, by the majority
        vote, determines that the actions and/or status of the committee that led to it being places on probation have
        been rectified.

        9. Dissolution of SABR Research Committees

        A research committee may be dissolved if the Executive Board, by majority vote, determines that:
        a) the actions (or lack thereof) of the Committee do not meet the requirement out lined in the SABR
        Policy Manual; or,
        b) the actions of the committee are not in the best interest of SABR.
        Research committees that have not been put on probation may not be considered for dissolution. The decision
        to dissolve a research committee shall not necessarily be construed as a sanction against the committee Chair
        and/or Vice-chair(s).

        10. Research Committee Reviews

        A. Process for Research Committee Reviews

        1) Executive Director contacts Research Committee Chair to:
        a) Provide an overview of the process, including its purpose, and what becomes of the review.
        b) Provide the number of members of the committee, growth/decline in membership numbers, any
        demographics about committee members, general demographics of all SABR members
        c) Ask for self-evaluation of the committee and the chair’s management of it. This self-evaluation
        will include the progress of all projects the committee has undertaken, report on the
        quantity/quality of communication with the committee (or individual members); this can include
        newsletters, e-groups, web sites, annual meeting and annual report. If there is an e-group, it
        should list the high and low number of messages per month over the past 12 months, and the
        total number of messages in the past 12 months.
        d) Ask any specific questions related to the committee, including what research assets the
        committee maintains. Discuss philosophy of research.
        e) Review succession plans
        f) Point out what staff can do to help the committee function better
        g) Set goals for the coming year

        The deadline for completion of this task will be 2 – 3 weeks.

        2) Staff will customize a survey for research committee members to provide feedback, tailoring it to the
        specific committee being reviewed (if no web site, don’t ask about a web site, etc.).
        3) Executive Director sends email to committee members asking them to complete the survey to provide
        feedback on the committee and the chair. (Deadline 2 weeks or less).
        4) After the Executive Director gets the self-evaluation back from the chair, he sends the chair the results
        of the committee members who were surveyed.
        5) Executive Director writes a report based on his perceptions of the committee, the data collected and
        exchanged, the feedback from the committee members, and the chair’s self-evaluation.
        6) Executive Director sends the chair a copy of the report and schedules a time to discuss by phone.
        7) If necessary, based on the conversation, the Executive Director amends/appends/clarifies his report and
        gets sign-off from research committee chair.
        8) Executive Director submits report to the executive board.

        11. Code of Conduct for Committee Chairs.

        All research committee chairs, project directors, chapter heads, and other volunteers holding any title within
        SABR shall be required to read and sign a letter annually that outlines their responsibilities as well as
        standards of comportment.
        That letter shall contain the following:

        a) Their position and title;
        b) Notice that they represent SABR in that position;
        c) Specification that they are expected at all times to represent themselves and the organization in a
        professional manner;
        d) An absolute prohibition against using profane or insulting language;
        e) An absolute prohibition against harassing members or non-members or engaging in ad hominem attacks;
        f) Acknowledgment that all information received in that position, including information compiled or edited
        by the undersigned, is the intellectual property of and belongs to SABR;
        g) If the committee chair has control over any SABR data sets, he/she will follow back-up and security
        policies as set by the Director of Knowledge Management;
        h) Notice that his/her tenure in that position is subject to termination at any time upon notification by the
        board of directors; and
        i) A clause stating that the undersigned has both read, understands, and accepts the provisions of the letter.

        12. Miscellaneous Guidelines relating to SABR Research Committees

        a) The SABR President shall appoint a Board member to act as Research Committee liaison.
        b) Only a research committee Chair may speak for the committee.
        c) Research committee chairs are encouraged to make their committee as active as possible.

        H. Regional Groups
        1. Philosophy and Objectives

        Most members of SABR are unable to attend the annual convention regularly, and therefore miss out on the
        research presentations, guest speakers, committee meetings and the chance to talk baseball with fellow
        members. SABR’s regional chapters promote the Society’s objectives by fostering increased contact among
        SABR members.

        Regional chapters extend the rewards of SABR membership through regular meetings—which typically
        feature research presentations, guest speakers and the opportunity to meet and chat informally with fellow
        SABRites—and through events like baseball-related community events, informal “hot-stove” meetings, and
        projects like assisting local media with baseball-related projects, and working with local professional
        baseball clubs on ballpark events and “FanFest” activities. Regional chapters provide a forum for presenting
        research on topics of local interest, and facilitate efforts by out-of-town SABR members to find and tap
        unique local research resources like historical societies and families of former ballplayers.
        Through their activities, regional chapters produce a stronger bond of membership in SABR and an
        opportunity for members to help achieve SABR’s objectives.

        The goals of SABR’s regional chapters are:

        a) to increase opportunities for SABR members to participate in SABR activities;
        b) to provide means for SABR members to establish and foster friendships and to exchange research;
        c) to promote interest in baseball and baseball research at the local level;
        d) to make SABR’s resources available to local community organizations and the media;
        e) to foster the use of local resources in baseball research;
        f) to enrich SABR by attracting into its membership people with a variety of backgrounds and
        experiences.

        2. Chapter Obligations and Expectations

        Because regional chapters represent SABR, they are governed by SABR’s constitution, by-laws, and policy
        manual. SABR respects and encourages the autonomy of its chapters in organizing and conducting regional
        programs and projects in accord with these requirements and guidelines:

        a) All chapter leaders and officers shall be members of SABR. Chapters shall supply the names of their
        leaders and/or officers, appointed and elected, to the SABR office, and shall notify the SABR office
        promptly of all changes in leadership.
        b) Because membership in SABR includes membership in its regional chapters, no chapter may charge
        dues for chapter membership.
        c) Each chapter shall hold at least one “regular” meeting per year. Regular meetings shall include
        baseball research and shall be open to SABR members and non-members alike.
        d) Chapters may charge for chapter activities and raise funds to cover chapter expenses.

        3. SABR Support for Regional Chapters

        SABR will list each chapter and its contact persons on the SABR website, and provide links to chapter
        websites.
        Upon request from an authorized chapter representative to the SABR office, SABR will:

        a) Announce upcoming chapter meetings and events—upon timely notification—in The SABR Bulletin
        and on the SABR website, and publish summary accounts of chapter meetings and events in The
        SABR Bulletin and on the website. (Chapters are encouraged also to publicize and review their
        meetings and events on SABR-L.)
        b) Provide address labels for mailings announcing chapter meetings and events.
        c) Provide SABR publications and memberships to give to guest speakers, and publications for use in
        chapter fund-raising activities.
        d) Reimburse chapters for up to three mailings per calendar year, at 65¢ per person per mailing.
        e) Reimburse chapters for general expenses for regular meetings [see Sec. 2.c above], up to $350 per
        calendar year.
        f) Documentation must accompany reimbursement requests. Requests for reimbursement may be
        submitted to the SABR office at any time during the year in which they are incurred, but not later
        than January 31 of the following year.
        g) Provide grants of $100 to new chapters for start-up expenses.
        h) Provide—upon prior approval by SABR’s executive board—partial payment of the cost of special
        projects undertaken to achieve the objectives of SABR. Such projects may include the publication
        of chapter research projects, grave site and historical markers, re-creations of historic or symbolic
        events, and citations to local residents for their contributions to baseball. Proposals should be
        directed to the Executive Board through SABR’s Executive Director.

        4.SABR Chartered Communities

        Recognizing the impact of the internet and other technologies on the ways in which SABR members
        interact, SABR hereby establishes Chartered Communities (CC), which shall have all the rights and
        responsibilities that accrue to SABR Chapters.

        SABR CCs may be established upon petition by 15 members in good standing to the executive director. The
        petition shall include the name of the Chartered Community, its principal organizing tool (website, e-list,
        etc.), and identify one or more group leaders who shall be provided access to such committee and chapter
        management tools as SABR may provide. The executive director shall facilitate creation of these CCs
        without delay except when, in his/her judgment, the creation of a particular CC does not fit within SABR’s
        mission or is otherwise contrary to SABR policy and practice, in which case the SABR Executive Board
        shall review the petition at its next regularly scheduled meeting.

        On Fri, Apr 1, 2011 at 8:48 AM, Peter Kreutzer <askrotoman@...> wrote:
         

        I like the sound of what you're suggesting F.X., because it might improve the BDB data and give more access to more data to everyone, and because it seems like it might reduce work that would otherwise be duplicated.


        But as long as there is the potential for public free access to the SABR/Palmer dB to be withdrawn, for any reason no matter how apparently obscure, it seems prudent to keep the BDB dB alive (as newsgroup and annual release, at least) as a fallback. It doesn't sound like there's any reason for that not to happen.

        FX, can you point us to the definitions of a community of interest, the procedure to become one, and the obligations of such a community? 



        --
        F. X. Flinn
        FXFlinn@gmail | 802-369-0069

      • Tangotiger
        ... I agree that the existence of BDB has the impact that FX cites. But if you have 800 BDB members who had no previous desire to join SABR then decide to join
        Message 3 of 12 , Apr 1, 2011
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          > You know, in thinking about BDB, I realize now that the existence of BDB
          > has
          > allowed SABR to deprioritize discussions around making data downloads
          > available. Oddly enough, if BDB had formed within SABR instead of outside
          > of
          > it this probably would have happened long ago -- 800 members clamoring for
          > the functionality would have made an impression. Instead the board looks
          > at
          > the landscape of how baseball researchers needs are met and unmet and sees
          > that BDB exists, so why replicate it? As was pointed out earlier, the fact
          > that the Palmer data in BDB is circa 1993 and lacks a lot of corrections
          > Pete's made since then just doesn't make that much difference to most BDB
          > users.
          >

          I agree that the existence of BDB has the impact that FX cites.

          But if you have 800 BDB members who had no previous desire to join SABR
          then decide to join SABR (for really the express purpose of accessing the
          BDB), and generating 40,000$ in dues, then, yeah, that'll get attention.

          Setting that aside, what is the budget required to get a commercial
          license from SABR to make available a "gold standard" database? Would 200
          people contributing 5$ each be enough? Do we need 500 people doing so?
          1,000 people?

          And what would it take to get a commercial license of JUST the bio data?
          Since a bio committee already exists, what is the impediment of making
          THAT available next week?

          A minor league committee already exists. What is the commercial license
          for that, and what would it take to make that available next week?

          Tom
        • F. X. Flinn
          Commercial licenses are negotiated uniquely each time. That said, commercial-use license whose intent was to put everything out there for public use without
          Message 4 of 12 , Apr 1, 2011
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            Commercial licenses are negotiated uniquely each time.

            That said, commercial-use license whose intent was to put everything out there for public use without restriction wouldn't make any sense; that would not be a commercial use. Commercial use implies use for the purpose of generating revenues.

            But beyond that conceptual problem, the entities which SABR represents when making such a license available would almost certainly veto that type of deal.

            FXF

            P.S. I would also point out that a lot of the data in the recent ESPN baseball encyclopedia was created by 24/7, not Pete. So when you look at a baseball encyclopedia from the 21st century you are not just looking at SABR Bio Committee + Pete Palmer + Retrosheet, you are looking at a considerable amount of value add from 24/7 and other sources like Stats Inc.

            It's a really complicated area and Alan Schwarz's great book about baseball stats is a must read for anyone trying to understand just how messy it all is.



            On Fri, Apr 1, 2011 at 11:08 AM, Tangotiger <tom@...> wrote:
             

            > You know, in thinking about BDB, I realize now that the existence of BDB
            > has
            > allowed SABR to deprioritize discussions around making data downloads
            > available. Oddly enough, if BDB had formed within SABR instead of outside
            > of
            > it this probably would have happened long ago -- 800 members clamoring for
            > the functionality would have made an impression. Instead the board looks
            > at
            > the landscape of how baseball researchers needs are met and unmet and sees
            > that BDB exists, so why replicate it? As was pointed out earlier, the fact
            > that the Palmer data in BDB is circa 1993 and lacks a lot of corrections
            > Pete's made since then just doesn't make that much difference to most BDB
            > users.
            >

            I agree that the existence of BDB has the impact that FX cites.

            But if you have 800 BDB members who had no previous desire to join SABR
            then decide to join SABR (for really the express purpose of accessing the
            BDB), and generating 40,000$ in dues, then, yeah, that'll get attention.

            Setting that aside, what is the budget required to get a commercial
            license from SABR to make available a "gold standard" database? Would 200
            people contributing 5$ each be enough? Do we need 500 people doing so?
            1,000 people?

            And what would it take to get a commercial license of JUST the bio data?
            Since a bio committee already exists, what is the impediment of making
            THAT available next week?

            A minor league committee already exists. What is the commercial license
            for that, and what would it take to make that available next week?

            Tom




            --
            F. X. Flinn
            FXFlinn@gmail | 802-369-0069

          • Tangotiger
            ... But this is what the BDB group is envisioning, much like Retrosheet, that people will donate money to make the project viable. SABR is a non-profit, isn t
            Message 5 of 12 , Apr 1, 2011
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              > That said, commercial-use license whose intent was to put everything out
              > there for public use without restriction wouldn't make any sense; that
              > would
              > not be a commercial use. Commercial use implies use for the purpose of
              > generating revenues.

              But this is what the BDB group is envisioning, much like Retrosheet, that
              people will donate money to make the project viable.

              SABR is a non-profit, isn't it, like Retrosheet? Is the SABR Bio
              committee simply made up of SABR members, and all creations made by SABR
              members? So, again, what would stop SABR from producing a bio file for
              use by the community at large? Is the worry that you will lose a certain
              number of members because they think their benefits have been diluted?
              Then, that's the purpose of the microdonations, that it will make up for
              the loss of revenue elsewhere. Again, what is stopping SABR from next
              week distributing for the general public the bio data?

              I understand that if you have some outside source that you paid for the
              material that they would veto it. I'm talking about the bio data, and
              minor league data (if that was also all in-house).

              As for 24/7: that's a Pete Palmer / Gary Gillette company isn't it? We're
              splitting hairs, for discussion purposes anyway, if we are separating
              Pete's DB from the 24/7 DB.

              Tom
            • F. X. Flinn
              I realized this morning I had missed this email when I saw your response in another thread. Tom, when you write this is what the BDB group is envisioning I
              Message 6 of 12 , Apr 9, 2011
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                I realized this morning I had missed this email when I saw your response in another thread.

                Tom, when you write "this is what the BDB group is envisioning" I am not sure what you mean. You had asked what it would take for SABR to license everything to BDB. I assume you meant how much money. The money isn't the point.

                Let's cut to the chase.

                Either intellectual property has value or it doesn't. I assume that as an author who sells books, you agree that IP has value. You would not want chapters of your works lifted to create a new work without your permission.

                Therefore the question is whether or not data compiled by SABR's Bio commiittee, by Pete alone, by Pete working with Gary Gillette, by Gary Gillette alone is intellectual property or not (note that it's not splitting hairs to distinguish between Pete and Gary). The vast majority of BDB data, and especially the pre 1993 data, comes from those sources, because the vast majority of BDB data comes from the 1994 Total Baseball CD, which was based on those sources. That CD was not provided with a copyright that allowed users to freely copy and distribute the data.

                Why isn't BDB data being used by commercial outfits? Why do they license stuff through SABR, bb-ref, 24/7, Retrosheet? Why do those organizations cross-license with each other?

                Believe me, those outfits would like to find ways to make the data readily available for individuals to use for their own private non-commercial use. It would help the quality of research, it would improve the work of the Union Project's effort to resolve questions of errors in the records. And we're getting there.

                FXF




                On Fri, Apr 1, 2011 at 11:49 AM, Tangotiger <tom@...> wrote:
                 

                > That said, commercial-use license whose intent was to put everything out
                > there for public use without restriction wouldn't make any sense; that
                > would
                > not be a commercial use. Commercial use implies use for the purpose of
                > generating revenues.

                But this is what the BDB group is envisioning, much like Retrosheet, that
                people will donate money to make the project viable.

                SABR is a non-profit, isn't it, like Retrosheet? Is the SABR Bio
                committee simply made up of SABR members, and all creations made by SABR
                members? So, again, what would stop SABR from producing a bio file for
                use by the community at large? Is the worry that you will lose a certain
                number of members because they think their benefits have been diluted?
                Then, that's the purpose of the microdonations, that it will make up for
                the loss of revenue elsewhere. Again, what is stopping SABR from next
                week distributing for the general public the bio data?

                I understand that if you have some outside source that you paid for the
                material that they would veto it. I'm talking about the bio data, and
                minor league data (if that was also all in-house).

                As for 24/7: that's a Pete Palmer / Gary Gillette company isn't it? We're
                splitting hairs, for discussion purposes anyway, if we are separating
                Pete's DB from the 24/7 DB.

                Tom




                --
                F. X. Flinn
                FXFlinn@gmail | 802-369-0069

              • wyerscj
                F.X., Nothing that s being discussed here is intellectual property. See STATS, Inc. vs NBA and CDM vs. MLBAM. Baseball statistics are records of fact and no
                Message 7 of 12 , Apr 10, 2011
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                  F.X.,

                  Nothing that's being discussed here is intellectual property. See STATS, Inc. vs NBA and CDM vs. MLBAM. Baseball statistics are records of fact and no more copyrightable than the phone book.

                  I don't know what your licenses are between 24/7 Sports and other commercial entities that would restrict you from releasing this data, but you are absolutely misrepresenting the question by framing it in terms of "intellectual property."

                  And lemme just ask a question, point-blank. It's in the best interests of everybody if someone releases an updated version of the BDB (or some close substitute) after the 2011, season, right? Looking at the bare minimum someone would need to accomplish this meaningfully, I think the year-end Retrosheet release (which has no licensing restrictions attached, aside from attribution) and some effort spent collecting end-of-season awards and the like would suffice. You'd have a BDB that's no more historically accurate than the current one, but I think one person could satisfy much of the demand for a new BDB over the course of a weekend.

                  Now for the question: Let's say I'm both capable (I think that I am) and willing (I might be) to do this. Is there any benefit, either to me or to the BDB users, if I do this through SABR instead of privately (either on my own or hosting it at Baseball Prospectus)?

                  Cheers,
                  --CW

                  --- In baseball-databank@yahoogroups.com, "F. X. Flinn" <fxflinn@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > I realized this morning I had missed this email when I saw your response in
                  > another thread.
                  >
                  > Tom, when you write "this is what the BDB group is envisioning" I am not
                  > sure what you mean. You had asked what it would take for SABR to license
                  > everything to BDB. I assume you meant how much money. The money isn't the
                  > point.
                  >
                  > Let's cut to the chase.
                  >
                  > Either intellectual property has value or it doesn't. I assume that as an
                  > author who sells books, you agree that IP has value. You would not want
                  > chapters of your works lifted to create a new work without your permission.
                  >
                  > Therefore the question is whether or not data compiled by SABR's Bio
                  > commiittee, by Pete alone, by Pete working with Gary Gillette, by Gary
                  > Gillette alone is intellectual property or not (note that it's not splitting
                  > hairs to distinguish between Pete and Gary). The vast majority of BDB data,
                  > and especially the pre 1993 data, comes from those sources, because the vast
                  > majority of BDB data comes from the 1994 Total Baseball CD, which was based
                  > on those sources. That CD was not provided with a copyright that allowed
                  > users to freely copy and distribute the data.
                  >
                  > Why isn't BDB data being used by commercial outfits? Why do they license
                  > stuff through SABR, bb-ref, 24/7, Retrosheet? Why do those organizations
                  > cross-license with each other?
                  >
                  > Believe me, those outfits would like to find ways to make the data readily
                  > available for individuals to use for their own private non-commercial use.
                  > It would help the quality of research, it would improve the work of the
                  > Union Project's effort to resolve questions of errors in the records. And
                  > we're getting there.
                  >
                  > FXF
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > On Fri, Apr 1, 2011 at 11:49 AM, Tangotiger <tom@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > > That said, commercial-use license whose intent was to put everything out
                  > > > there for public use without restriction wouldn't make any sense; that
                  > > > would
                  > > > not be a commercial use. Commercial use implies use for the purpose of
                  > > > generating revenues.
                  > >
                  > > But this is what the BDB group is envisioning, much like Retrosheet, that
                  > > people will donate money to make the project viable.
                  > >
                  > > SABR is a non-profit, isn't it, like Retrosheet? Is the SABR Bio
                  > > committee simply made up of SABR members, and all creations made by SABR
                  > > members? So, again, what would stop SABR from producing a bio file for
                  > > use by the community at large? Is the worry that you will lose a certain
                  > > number of members because they think their benefits have been diluted?
                  > > Then, that's the purpose of the microdonations, that it will make up for
                  > > the loss of revenue elsewhere. Again, what is stopping SABR from next
                  > > week distributing for the general public the bio data?
                  > >
                  > > I understand that if you have some outside source that you paid for the
                  > > material that they would veto it. I'm talking about the bio data, and
                  > > minor league data (if that was also all in-house).
                  > >
                  > > As for 24/7: that's a Pete Palmer / Gary Gillette company isn't it? We're
                  > > splitting hairs, for discussion purposes anyway, if we are separating
                  > > Pete's DB from the 24/7 DB.
                  > >
                  > > Tom
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > --
                  > F. X. Flinn
                  > FXFlinn@gmail | 802-369-0069
                  >
                • Theodore Turocy
                  ... With respect, and at the risk of taking this discussion further afield, pontifexexmachina is probably more guilty of misrepresenting the issue here. The
                  Message 8 of 12 , Apr 10, 2011
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                    On 10 Apr 2011, at 15:11 , wyerscj wrote:

                    > F.X.,
                    >
                    > Nothing that's being discussed here is intellectual property. See STATS, Inc. vs NBA and CDM vs. MLBAM. Baseball statistics are records of fact and no more copyrightable than the phone book.

                    With respect, and at the risk of taking this discussion further afield, "pontifexexmachina" is probably more guilty of misrepresenting the issue here.

                    The phone book absolutely *is* copyrightable, if by "phone book" you refer to a particular, specific arrangement and formatting of names and phone numbers. You can't simply take a phone book, slap your own name on the cover instead of the original author, and sell the same item. What isn't copyrightable are the *facts* within the phone book. So, a phone book publisher cannot bring suit against someone else solely because the same names and phone numbers appear in someone else's version of the phone book.

                    The case precedents cited above only establish that NBA, MLBAM, and the like cannot stop someone else from reporting the facts about the public exhibitions that are sporting events, in much the same way that a phone book publisher cannot stop someone else from also reporting phone numbers.

                    Copyright protection does cover specific arrangements and compilations of facts as a whole, however. Again, one can't simply take an existing baseball encyclopedia, put a new cover with their own name on it, and sell it as their own work.

                    If someone creates a dataset which is a specific arrangement of facts based on their own work, they most certainly do have "intellectual property." It is up to the creator how that particular resource can and can't be used. They may keep it for themselves; they may share and trade access to it; or, they may release it under a liberal license to the world. But it is up to the creator to make that decision. And, the fact is, the majority of the data that most people would be interested in comes ultimately from the work of 24/7 Baseball, and it is up to them to decide if, when, and how their particular work will be used.

                    The fact that facts aren't copyrightable, in this case, simply means that 24/7 Baseball, or anyone else, can't stop something like baseball-databank from existing and carrying out its own version of compiling facts about baseball.


                    Editorializing now solely for myself, it is my hope that the day will come when the "gold standard" data is available under a liberal Creative Commons-type license, and my hope that the day will come sooner or later. However, everyone really needs to remember that the Open Source and Open Data movements are based on *respect* for the principles of copyright - and I assert it's been the careful respect of intellectual property which has made these movements credible and wildly successful.

                    Ted
                  • Tangotiger
                    1. It s important to note that facts are not copyrightable, but the arrangements of those facts are, as long as the arrangement is not obvious. That is, the
                    Message 9 of 12 , Apr 10, 2011
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                      1. It's important to note that facts are not copyrightable, but the
                      arrangements of those facts are, as long as the arrangement is not
                      obvious. That is, the original or creative *expression* of facts is
                      protected, and not the facts themselves. (Feist v Rural, which is the
                      phone book case.)

                      2. With regards to the copyright issue, there's always a debate as to
                      contract law v copyright law, as to when does one supersede the other.

                      So, Pete Palmer could spend all his time collecting factual biographical
                      data, and store it in a non-creative manner (like a phone book). And if
                      he licenses that data to SABR, SABR may be limited to the contract
                      provisions, even if the arrangement of this data itself is not
                      copyrightable. Basically, SABR is allowing contract law to supersede it's
                      (possible) rights under copyright.

                      There is no clear guidelines here, and really, it's up to a court to
                      decide on a case-by-case basis.

                      I think we can accept that if SABR is going to adhere to the licensing
                      terms of the contract, then let's just respect that, for our discussion
                      purposes here, that contract law supersedes copyright law. Even if it
                      didn't, SABR is not going to challenge it, because they respect the
                      contract provisions that Pete has set forth.

                      ***

                      As I noted earlier, SABR brings to the table:
                      1. bio data
                      2. non-Retro data
                      3. minor league data

                      And I think it would be helpful to all the members here to understand the
                      limitations of each of those three pieces of property.

                      Is the SABR bio committee constrained by whatever deal they have with Pete
                      and/or Gary? If so, then that's fine, let's respect that, and move on to
                      some other solution. If the constraint is flexible enough that the bio
                      data can be licenced to the BDB group, then let's hear what conditions
                      would be in place for that.

                      And who's the best person to answer that? Is it FX? Is it someone else
                      at SABR? Is it whoever is in charge of the Bio committee?

                      Tom
                    • Theodore Turocy
                      Hi all, I wanted to separate my reply of last night re: licensing legalities from a distinct issue - but it was late at night already for me, so I had to
                      Message 10 of 12 , Apr 11, 2011
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                        Hi all,

                        I wanted to separate my reply of last night re: licensing legalities from a distinct issue - but it was late at night already for me, so I had to postpone my other reply until now:


                        On 10 Apr 2011, at 15:11, wyerscj wrote:

                        > And lemme just ask a question, point-blank. It's in the best interests of everybody if someone releases an updated version of the BDB (or some close substitute) after the 2011, season, right? Looking at the bare minimum someone would need to accomplish this meaningfully, I think the year-end Retrosheet release (which has no licensing restrictions attached, aside from attribution) and some effort spent collecting end-of-season awards and the like would suffice. You'd have a BDB that's no more historically accurate than the current one, but I think one person could satisfy much of the demand for a new BDB over the course of a weekend.
                        >
                        > Now for the question: Let's say I'm both capable (I think that I am) and willing (I might be) to do this. Is there any benefit, either to me or to the BDB users, if I do this through SABR instead of privately (either on my own or hosting it at Baseball Prospectus)?

                        The "value proposition," if you will, of having a SABR-distributed and supported open-licensed dataset, whether a completely new effort or a continuation of baseball-databank, is that all the activities listed above are already being done. There would be no need to have anyone volunteer to do those tasks, which are effectively just reduplicating existing effort; it's all work that I already do as part of my regular workflow.

                        The catch, again, is that these economies of scope are completely dependent on SABR being able to license out historical MLB statistics under open license terms, and that is not something that is at this instant at SABR's discretion to be able to do - although it is something, again, that there is active lobbying in support of. Without that ability, one would have to have a Chinese wall and maintain two versions of the data, and that's a level of complexity that would destroy the scope economy.

                        At the end of the day, the people who are able to say "yes" to that sort of license aren't on this list, so we can't take that particular discussion further just yet. It's frustrating, but these things do take time - and a lot of the people involved are quite busy with this being the opening weeks of the season.

                        Ted
                      • F. X. Flinn
                        Ted s answered the questions posed by CW very well. While I m only speaking for myself, and not the board or the executive director, I can t see any
                        Message 11 of 12 , Apr 11, 2011
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                          Ted's answered the questions posed by "CW" very well.

                          While I'm only speaking for myself, and not the board or the executive director, I can't see any circumstance under which SABR would license anything to BDB, if only because BDB is not a corporation or other legal person which would be able to enter into a contract. It's a Yahoo group.

                          But assuming that was not a barrier -- I don't want to duck the issue at hand by raising technicalities -- the avowed purpose of BDB is to just put the data out there unconditionally. How could we license that kind of use? In effect it would create a single licensed pipeline out of SABR and into the world. There'd be no point in a contract between bbref and SABR anymore, would there?

                          On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 11:20 AM, Theodore Turocy <drarbiter@...> wrote:
                           

                          Hi all,

                          I wanted to separate my reply of last night re: licensing legalities from a distinct issue - but it was late at night already for me, so I had to postpone my other reply until now:



                          On 10 Apr 2011, at 15:11, wyerscj wrote:

                          > And lemme just ask a question, point-blank. It's in the best interests of everybody if someone releases an updated version of the BDB (or some close substitute) after the 2011, season, right? Looking at the bare minimum someone would need to accomplish this meaningfully, I think the year-end Retrosheet release (which has no licensing restrictions attached, aside from attribution) and some effort spent collecting end-of-season awards and the like would suffice. You'd have a BDB that's no more historically accurate than the current one, but I think one person could satisfy much of the demand for a new BDB over the course of a weekend.
                          >
                          > Now for the question: Let's say I'm both capable (I think that I am) and willing (I might be) to do this. Is there any benefit, either to me or to the BDB users, if I do this through SABR instead of privately (either on my own or hosting it at Baseball Prospectus)?

                          The "value proposition," if you will, of having a SABR-distributed and supported open-licensed dataset, whether a completely new effort or a continuation of baseball-databank, is that all the activities listed above are already being done. There would be no need to have anyone volunteer to do those tasks, which are effectively just reduplicating existing effort; it's all work that I already do as part of my regular workflow.

                          The catch, again, is that these economies of scope are completely dependent on SABR being able to license out historical MLB statistics under open license terms, and that is not something that is at this instant at SABR's discretion to be able to do - although it is something, again, that there is active lobbying in support of. Without that ability, one would have to have a Chinese wall and maintain two versions of the data, and that's a level of complexity that would destroy the scope economy.

                          At the end of the day, the people who are able to say "yes" to that sort of license aren't on this list, so we can't take that particular discussion further just yet. It's frustrating, but these things do take time - and a lot of the people involved are quite busy with this being the opening weeks of the season.

                          Ted




                          --
                          F. X. Flinn
                          FXFlinn@gmail | 802-369-0069

                        • Tangotiger
                          ... That would be correct. If say SABR is currently collecting 5000$ of licencing fees with its current arrangements (Sean and whoever else), a single group
                          Message 12 of 12 , Apr 11, 2011
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                            > But assuming that was not a barrier -- I don't want to duck the issue at
                            > hand by raising technicalities -- the avowed purpose of BDB is to just put
                            > the data out there unconditionally. How could we license that kind of use?
                            > In effect it would create a single licensed pipeline out of SABR and into
                            > the world. There'd be no point in a contract between bbref and SABR
                            > anymore,
                            > would there?

                            That would be correct. If say SABR is currently collecting 5000$ of
                            licencing fees with its current arrangements (Sean and whoever else), a
                            single group could instead be created that would pay SABR 6000$. And this
                            group would solicit micropayments (say 6$ a donor, and get 1000 donors)
                            annually. All numbers for illustration purposes only.

                            I keep repeating the same question: what exactly are the limitations of
                            the bio data? What does the bio committee want or need to expand its
                            license to the public?

                            And same question for the non-Retro data. And same question for the minor
                            league data.

                            Tom
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