Open Definition 2.0 released

Timothy Vollmer, Oct 07, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I think that the 'Open Definition' people are doing a lot of harm to the open content movement by defining 'open' in such a way as to exclude non-commercial license (and hence, most of the open content in the world).

The new revised open definition is: "Any content released under an Open Definition-conformant license means that anyone can 'freely access, use, modify, and share that content, for any purpose, subject, at most, to requirements that preserve provenance and openness.'" When I actually look at the definition, though, I see it still needs work. It's the usual problem. Consider these terms:

  • 2.1.2 Redistribution - The license must allow redistribution of the licensed work, including sale, whether on its own or as part of a collection made from works from different sources.
  • 2.1.9 No Charge - The license must not impose any fee arrangement, royalty, or other compensation or monetary remuneration as part of its conditions.

It's hard for me to imagine any scenario in which both those conditions can be true at the same time. The sale of a work is the imposition of a restriction which prevents access unless money is paid.

Now in his introduction Timothy Vollmer says "it’s helpful to be able to point policymakers and data publishers to a neutral, community-supported definition with a list of approved licenses for sharing content and data." But he gets it exactly wrong. The community does not support this definition; only the commercial publishers do. And slapping a price tag on content is the exact opposite of 'open'.

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