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From Martin Desruisseaux <martin.desruisse...@geomatys.fr>
Subject Re: Licensing: exception for allowing Apache SIS to bundle EPSG data?
Date Wed, 16 Apr 2014 01:04:46 GMT
Hello Kevan

Thanks for your reply.

Le 15/04/14 19:05, Kevan Miller a écrit :
> Clauses 6.3, 6.6, and 6.7 all describe restrictions on the EPSG data
> -- and they pose problems for including EPSG in SIS.
Clause 6.7 said that if the user changes the data in a "significant" way
("significant" being defined by clause 6.6), he shall not attribute the
change to EPSG. In some scenarios it may be a matter of human life: if a
public transportation claims to provide its geographic location
according the Coordinate Reference System EPSG:4326, if it actually uses
a "modified EPSG:4326", then the transport will not be where other
peoples think it is, with all the risks we can imagine. The EPSG
restriction allows users to change the data, provided that they use
their own name.

Apache license has a similar restriction: "This License does not grant
permission to use the trade names, trademarks, service marks, or product
names of the Licensor" (Apache clause 6). FAQ [1] is more explicit: "May
I call my modified code 'Apache'?", the answer is "no". So why such
restriction would be acceptable for Apache but not for EPSG, especially
given the safety implications of EPSG data accuracy?

To me, the EPSG restriction actually seems more flexible than the
Apache's one :-), because clause 6.6 describes a set of changes that we
can apply while retaining the "EPSG" name, while Apache license does not
give any circumstance allowing users to name their modified code "Apache".

> If EPSG was software, I would say that EPSG could not be included in
> Apache SIS, because of these restrictions. I see no reason why we
> should treat EPSG differently, because EPSG is "data".
We can rewrite a new software complying to the same contract than the
original one. But we can not "rewrite" data. For example the Unicode
tables define "U+0041" as 'A' - there is no way we can create an "Apache
Unicode" with the same meaning for codes. We could create new tables,
but they would be incompatible with Unicode. Likewise the EPSG tables
defines "EPSG:4326" as "World Geodetic System 1984" (together with other
information). There is no way we can create Apache tables compatible
with EPSG without copying the data.

> So, my question to EPSG would be -- could you make EPSG data available
> under a license which does not impose these restrictions on use,
> modification, and redistribution?
Would it be really responsible to ask for relaxing clause 6.6 and 6.7
given the safety implications? Furthermore those clauses seem to me
already more relax than Apache 2 license.

If clause 6.6 and 6.7 are considered acceptable, that would leave only
clause 6.3 as an open question.

> If the answer is no, then the next question for SIS to ask is -- can
> we make the EPSG data optional? And allow users to download the EPSG
> data, themselves, if they desire?
EPSG codes are close to ubiquitous in today geographic web services.
Most users would likely be forced to download EPSG data before they can
make non-trivial use of SIS. An additional complication is that new EPSG
versions sometime requires an SIS code update (which may take some
time), and EPSG does not provide public archives of their old versions.


[1] https://www.apache.org/foundation/license-faq.html#Name-changes

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