[OAI-general] OAI and intellectual property issues

Thomas Krichel krichel@openlib.org
Wed, 18 Jul 2001 05:48:59 -0400

  Terry Kuny writes

> The problem I am wrestling with is that what happens
> if an organization builds an OAI repository and then 
> makes a claim that they hold the intellectual property 
> rights to the repository?

  RePEc does not run an OAI repository as yet, but 
  we have the firm intention to set one up AND to
  claim intellectual property rights to the data

> Under recent WIPO treaties, this would seem to be a 
> legitimate claim since aggregates of fact or data like this
> can be considered "original works". If this is so, 
> might it not stop other organizations from aggregating 
> the same data (perhaps to build a competing data service 
> with some prettier interface or better whizbangs)? 

  Everybody who does not like the usage conditions
  attached to the RePEc data can build a competing

> I know this goes counter to most definitions of "open" 

  How come? Our collection has usage conditions, but
  is freely available within those conditions.

> and that really a repository built upon metadata made 
> freely accessible SHOULD not do such a thing,

  Why not?

  Imagine that you built for 8 years a digital library that is
  arguably the largest distributed academic digital
  library in the world. You and your mates have been 
  working on it for nothing essentially, at the margin
  of regular jobs, in overtime spent at the computer in
  the office rather than with your girlfriend at home.
  Then one day, out of the blue. you find that a commercial company
  have built a web site, have used all your data and claim
  that *they* have collected it, without a single mentioning
  of your efforts. I bet you would be just as outraged as I
  was when exactly that thing happend to RePEc six weeks
  ago! It cost me a hell of a lot of nerves and a bit
  of effort to put things right. 
> Should OAI have some sort of GNU-like license that should
> be signed onto that would preclude service providers 
> from unfairly exploiting open archives to the detriment
> of others?
  Sure there should be some thought on that. In fact,
  at the original Santa Fe meeting I presented a 
  framework that would address this issue.

> From the OAI perspective, what IP would a 
> service provider have claims to?

  I would that think that these would be rather small
  and difficult to defend in court. But I am by no
  means a legal expert.


  Thomas Krichel                              mailto:krichel@openlib.org