[OAI-general] OAI and intellectual property issues

billn billn@yelmtel.com
Thu, 19 Jul 2001 06:24:21 -0700

I believe that the IP issue here is real and will cause problems unless
OAI sets a standard disclaimer that says (essentially):

"You are permitted to harvest metadata from this site for the purpose of
access and/or providing a service for others. You may build services
with metadata and claim IP rights for the metadata *plus* service, but
you may not prevent or interfere with others who harvest metadata even
for the same purpose. Only the created service can be protected by IP,
not the metadata or access rights."

While this probably leaves loopholes a lawyer could drive a semi
through, OAI needs something that establishes its *intention* in the
legal arena. I imagine a call to the EFF could provide some help with
the wording.

This style should cover the use of public and free access sites, but
some additional restrictions may be added where a private company who
invested large sums to develop the data requires a license and/or
payment for access to the underlying data. Charging for the metadata
would be counterproductive, although they may require registration

This issue will not go away if ignored. It will simply create a quagmire
of different legal verbiage and restrictions that could cripple the
potential of a great concept. Please give serious consideration to
establishing your IP standards.

Bill Nicholls
Advanced Software and Technology, Byte.com