Subject: Re: License Question
From: Kevin Bedell <kevin@Kbedell.com>
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2004 11:34:54 -0500


> 2) The client medical record data collected in the
> system must be made available for research purposes in
> anonymized format. If adoption of the system occurs on
> a broader scale, then a much larger volume of
> consistently collected data will be available for
> research purposes. The goal is that this research
> leads to better treatment protocols for mental
> illness.
> 
> I'm not familar with any licenses that require data
> sharing.

I believe there may be some significant issues associated with this
requirement.

To begin with, requiring users to provide data in exchange for usage of
the software seems to go against the OSD item #1 Free Redistribution. #1
states:

"The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale."

It's very likely that some users would equate the requirement to provide
data as a 'fee for usage'.

In addition, this requirement may imply discrimination against persons
living in countries where saving and/or sharing information (even in an
anonymized format) may be against the law. This would violate item #5:

"5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

The license must not discriminate against any person or group of
persons.

        Rationale: In order to get the maximum benefit from the process,
        the maximum diversity of persons and groups should be equally
        eligible to contribute to open sources. Therefore we forbid any
        open-source license from locking anybody out of the process.
        
        Some countries, including the United States, have export
        restrictions for certain types of software. An OSD-conformant
        license may warn licensees of applicable restrictions and remind
        them that they are obliged to obey the law; however, it may not
        incorporate such restrictions itself."
        
I'd read this to imply that a license incorporating a restriction on
usage (for example, a restriction saying that only persons with the
ability to share data could use the software) would be outside the OSD.
This restriction would discriminate against persons living in countries
with laws against this data sharing.


I'd recommend an alternative approach:

1. Release the software without this restriction

2. Create the central, shared database to host all the data that you
believe should be shared

3. Have the software as distributed by you *allow for* easy uploading of
anonymized data to the shared repository

4. Define the data sharing aspects of your plan so that:

   - People trust it
   - People have open access to it
   - It's easy to leverage

In other words, create a situation where people share the data because
it's in their best interest to do so and they trust the 'stewardship' of
the data. 

In the end users should have more choices, not less. They should be able
to share the data if it adds value to their process. Restricting usage
to only those are able and willing to give data back seems outside the
spirit of the OSD.

-kevin




-- 


Kevin Bedell
Director of Training and Consulting
Black Duck Software
(p) 781-899-2718 x-140
http://www.blackducksoftware.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
 - Albert Einstein