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Re: [govtrack] Public Domain vs CC/Other Licenses

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  • Joshua Tauberer
    ... That s not the general rule. Everything is copyrighted by default, with all rights reserved. You need to see a specific I allow you to do this message
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 21, 2005
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      Aaron Huslage wrote:
      > I think you're right. The raw data is naturally in the public domain
      > unless utherwise noted by the publisher.

      That's not the general rule. Everything is copyrighted by default, with
      all rights reserved. You need to see a specific "I allow you to do
      this" message to use anything.

      But, when things become legislation I believe they lose their ability to
      be copyrighted.

      > It's my assumption that since
      > you've significantly altered that data, the outputted product is "new"
      > and therefore can lie under a new copyright of your choosing.

      I'm not sure about that. But if the source is copyrighted, I would
      avoid doing anything with it without permission.

      --
      - Joshua Tauberer

      http://taubz.for.net

      ** Nothing Unreal Exists **
    • Joshua Tauberer
      For those curious, here s what s happening behind the scenes lately. First, a blurb in the New York Times about GovTrack is supposed to appear one of these
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 22, 2005
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        For those curious, here's what's happening behind the scenes lately.

        First, a blurb in the New York Times about GovTrack is supposed to
        appear one of these days. Keep an eye on the Circuits section.

        Secondly, now that GovTrack is pretty much functionally complete, I'm
        shifting my focus to how websites with similar goals as GovTrack can
        share data, collaborate, and generally benefit from each other. This is
        partly what we've been talking about here regarding making the
        California-level data compatible in some sense with GovTrack's data.

        Hopefully in the next few weeks there will be a new website that will be
        a place for a community about this to develop. Once the website is up,
        I'm going to start bringing in other people interested in hacking out an
        RDF data model for political information, and then we'll start to decide
        on the specifics of the data model (e.g. how to assign IDs to politicians).

        And from there, a semantic web of political information could start to
        form. That'll be pretty neat.

        --
        - Joshua Tauberer

        http://taubz.for.net

        ** Nothing Unreal Exists **
      • Scott Beardsley
        ... I think this is very sad but also very true. ... I think our biggest hurdle (with respect to copyright) will be the Legislative Counsel which is
        Message 3 of 9 , Jan 24, 2005
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          --- Joshua Tauberer <tauberer@...> wrote:
          > You need to see a specific "I allow you to do
          > this" message to use anything.

          I think this is very sad but also very true.

          > But, when things become legislation I believe they
          > lose their ability to be copyrighted.

          I think our biggest hurdle (with respect to copyright)
          will be the Legislative Counsel which is responsible
          for protecting the legislature from lawsuits. I've
          heard that they can be unreasonable protective of what
          they allow into the public.

          > > It's my assumption that since
          > > you've significantly altered that data, the
          > outputted product is "new"
          > > and therefore can lie under a new copyright of
          > your choosing.

          It'd be interesting to know what "signifiacntly
          altered" really is... Can i just change the case of a
          few words?

          > If the source is copyrighted, I would
          > avoid doing anything with it without permission.

          I agree. So we have to find the grant into PD for all
          our sources.

          Although we could leave it to the end user to track
          what is PD and what isn't I think since we are
          gathering the data we should also provide information
          on licensing or copyrights. Imagine ten years down the
          line with a huge repo of data and no idea what's legal
          and what's not.

          I just was reading about PD (at
          http://creativecommons.org/licenses/publicdomain/):

          "A certifier has taken reasonable steps to verify the
          copyright status of this work. Certifier recognizes
          that his good faith efforts may not shield him from
          liability if in fact the work certified is not in the
          public domain."

          So basically we are obligated to determine the
          licensing status of the content we host.

          From leginfo.ca.gov (maintained by the Leg Counsel at
          http://www.legislature.ca.gov/footer/use_privacy_policy.html):

          "Some of the information presented on this web site
          may be protected by copyright. Permission to use that
          material must be obtained in advance..."

          Scott



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        • Scott Beardsley
          ... Congrats. That s excellent news. I m happy to see mainstream media catching up with what s happening. ... Is this the govshare that I ve been seeing random
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 24, 2005
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            --- Joshua Tauberer <tauberer@...> wrote:

            > First, a blurb in the New York Times about GovTrack
            > is supposed to appear one of these days.

            Congrats. That's excellent news. I'm happy to see
            mainstream media catching up with what's happening.

            > Hopefully in the next few weeks there will be a new
            > website that will be
            > a place for a community about this to develop.

            Is this the govshare that I've been seeing random
            places?

            > Once the website is up,
            > I'm going to start bringing in other people
            > interested in hacking out an
            > RDF data model for political information, and then
            > we'll start to decide
            > on the specifics of the data model (e.g. how to
            > assign IDs to politicians).

            I don't know much about RDF (yet) but I'd like to be
            on that list of ppl.

            > That'll be pretty neat.

            Who are you kiddin, that'll be f___in AWESOME!





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          • Scott Beardsley
            I also wanted to add that I think many people (particularly those currently serving as elected officials) may feel threatened by govtrack and its spawn.
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 24, 2005
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              I also wanted to add that I think many people
              (particularly those currently serving as elected
              officials) may feel threatened by govtrack and its
              spawn. Govtrack will bring a shift in the way
              government operates (from ignorant to informed
              populus). I think it's important to stay within the
              boundaries of the existing system until we have enough
              support and interest to push those boundaries in the
              people's favor.

              Scott



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            • Joshua Tauberer
              ... I think it s pretty fair. Before the ~1979 changes to copyright law, you had to pay a fee and formally register works with the goverment to obtain a
              Message 6 of 9 , Jan 24, 2005
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                Scott Beardsley wrote:
                >>You need to see a specific "I allow you to do
                >>this" message to use anything.
                >
                > I think this is very sad but also very true.

                I think it's pretty fair. Before the ~1979 changes to copyright law,
                you had to pay a fee and formally register works with the goverment to
                obtain a copyright, which was a somewhat prohibitive process if you're
                an individual and not a big publisher. So, the fact that everything is
                automatically copyrighted puts us on the same playing field as the big
                corporations. There are other aspects of copyright law that I'd agree
                are sad but true...

                > It'd be interesting to know what "signifiacntly
                > altered" really is... Can i just change the case of a
                > few words?

                No, but the law is generally vague about this. The only way to know if
                it's a legitimate action is if you're sued and ultimately found not
                guilty. Not a great way to find out.

                >>If the source is copyrighted, I would
                >>avoid doing anything with it without permission.
                >
                > I agree. So we have to find the grant into PD for all
                > our sources.

                Except legislation (I'll go looking for some precedent about this at
                some point, but I'm pretty sure it's already been tested in court) and
                the status of legislation (which are facts and, IMO, not copyrightable
                in the first place). For these things, I really wouldn't worry about
                it. If you're gathering other types of data, it's more of a concern.
                (Are you gathering other things?)

                > Imagine ten years down the
                > line with a huge repo of data and no idea what's legal
                > and what's not.

                Agreed.

                > So basically we are obligated to determine the
                > licensing status of the content we host.

                Most definitely.

                >>First, a blurb in the New York Times about GovTrack
                >>> is supposed to appear one of these days.
                >
                > Congrats. That's excellent news. I'm happy to see
                > mainstream media catching up with what's happening.

                Well, hold the congrats till we actually see it in print. :)

                >>Hopefully in the next few weeks there will be a new
                >>> website that will be
                >>> a place for a community about this to develop.
                >
                > Is this the govshare that I've been seeing random
                > places?

                In the preliminary RDF files. That was my original idea, but that may
                not pan out. We'll see.

                > I also wanted to add that I think many people
                > (particularly those currently serving as elected
                > officials) may feel threatened by govtrack and its
                > spawn.

                Excellent! :)

                --
                - Joshua Tauberer

                http://taubz.for.net

                ** Nothing Unreal Exists **
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