[OAI-general] OAI and intellectual property issues

Thorsten Schwander schwander@horse.lanl.gov
Wed, 18 Jul 2001 20:04:41 -0600


for an actual example how a wonderful open project, a metadata collection
that has been created by a community effort, a shared public resource, can be
turned into a quagmire of heavy contracts, licensing fees, forced user
registration and anti-competition clauses I want to point out the fate of the
once free cddb, now Gracenote http://www.gracenote.com/terms.html .

There are threats, cease and desist letters to developers of alternatives,
and even lawsuits. Some quotes from news-services

Basically cddb is a online lookup service for music CD titles and songlists
that provides this information to CD playing software. The database was build
by individual users contributing their manually generated datasets to the
database -- i.e. the users typed in the songlists.

"Today when I attempted to rip a new CD I bought, I received this
message. "Your CD player application is either not licensed to use the
Gracenote(tm) CDDB(tm) service or its license has expired. If you are unsure
what this means, please see our web site at http://www.cddb.com/lic/Grip. If
you are a developer and feel you have received this message in error or wish
to get your application licensed, please contact support for assistance.""

"CDDB is refusing connections from Media Jukebox until the Media Jukebox guys
sign an "exclusive agreement" to use CDDB's database."

and http://www.gracenote.com/press/2001051000.html

   BERKELEY, CA (May 10, 2001) -- Gracenote (formerly CDDB) a content delivery
platform provider specializing in music recognition services, today announced
a lawsuit against Roxio, Inc., at present, a wholly-owned subsidiary of
Adaptec, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADPT) for breach of contract, patent infringement,
trademark infringement and other violations of Federal law.

While not entirely the same I think there are some obvious analogies here,
and it goes to show that as soon as commercial interest are involved almost
nothing is inconceivable.

Could a OAI service provider, who has built a rich collection of metadata via
OAI, claim exclusive rights to that collection. Could they prevent others to
build a similar collection or provide similar services and functionality?