Harmonization of License Conditions: Opportunity or Futility?

Contributed by: 
Rudiger Gartmann, Conterra

Licensing of OGC services surely is a means to get more data published, which requires certain agreements and which otherwise is just locked away. At the recent GSDI World Conference (GSDI 13) in Quebec City I heard much talk about harmonizing license conditions in order to make it easier to classify them and build tools to support them. I fully agree that this would make life much easier, especially for software vendors like con terra. But our experience in dealing with these issues practically for many years – and in providing an off-the-shelf product to support users in their licensing efforts – is that license conditions have to implement a data provider's business model, not the other way round. Since business models are as diverse as the data providers are (public, commercial, crowd-sourcing, integrating, etc.), license conditions will remain diverse, too, at least for the near future. So if data providers want to do business now, their software vendors obviously have no alternative but to create licensing software that is generic enough to convey the whole range of business models which are in current use, while we are all waiting for life to become easier.


The slides of Roger Longhorn’s and my GSDI 13 presentation can be found at http://www.conterra.de/de/service/download/sdi-suite/digital%20rights%20management%20and%20licensing.pdf