[tei-council] jTEI licensing (was Re: Fwd: TEI licensing issues)

James Cummings James.Cummings at oucs.ox.ac.uk
Wed Sep 14 10:24:48 EDT 2011

On 14/09/11 14:43, Kevin Hawkins wrote:
> Approach (a) has been known the worsen the orphan works problem because
> it becomes difficult to track down the author to get additional rights
> not covered by the original agreement between the author and the
> publisher.  For that reason, I wrote the agreement to use approach (b),
> with a very large bundle of rights given back to the author.  In fact, I
> tried to grant back everything I could think of.  jTEI also grant rights
> to the reader (through CC-BY-ND).

I do sympathise with the orphan works problem.  That is a real 
problem, but since copyright infringement is about risk it is 
often a question of whether you can demonstrate you made an 
attempt to track down the author (and/or rights holders).   My 
problem was partly with the ND... I can think of lots of cases 
where I might want to take a corpus of jTEI articles (after it 
has been going for awhile) and then make a derivative work out of 
them.  I'm not talking about republishing them but other types of 
analysis of visualization of information in them. ND means I 
can't do that except by asking the TEI-C to re-license it to me.

> James's approach is to do (a) but give a huge large bundle of rights
> (CC-BY) to the publisher *and to readers*.  This would in fact probably
> not worsen the orphan works problem because we have trouble imaging
> anyone wanting to make use of a work in a way that the rightsholder
> would approve of if the rightsholder could be found.

That is generally what I was thinking. At digitalmedievalist we 
license our journal articles (and website) CC+BY+NC. That is, to 
be more specific, the article authors license it as such, and 
then under that license we put it on our website. While I would 
rather it not be NC, that is what was decided. The orphan work 
problem, as you rightly suggest, will rear its ugly head when 
someone comes to us and asks us if they can publish some of the 
articles commercially.  We'd probably just say no, but in truth 
since the copyright is vested in the authors it isn't our 
decision to make.  My unease at the TEI-C taking copyright is the 
same unease I feel at giving OUP my copyright when publishing an 
article with them.  I think wherever possible copyright should 
remain with the creator of the object and just as broad as 
licensing as possible given to the publisher.  I fully agree that 
your way is certainly easier (my experience at the OTA certainly 
has taught me that).

> It
> seems to me that either approach is equally effective.

Certainly, both have their pros and cons.

> Yes, I think so.  At this point
> http://wiki.tei-c.org/index.php/Council-licensing only includes things
> produced by Council; jTEI is not produced by Council.

Actually I listed jTEI on there, but in the full knowledge that 
it isn't probably under discussion.  However, I don't think we're 
only talking about things 'produced by council'...think, for 
example, of minutes of Board meetings or similar on the website. 
I think we're talking about "things produced by the TEI-C" but 
specifically exempting jTEI from that (except as a comparison or 
discussion point).

I would hope that the licensing conversation we are having would, 
in addition to re-licensing some of our existing 
software/materials/etc, produce a statement of licensing intent 
for the TEI-C to follow, where feasible, in the future.  I.e. if 
we decide on CC+BY for example, this would suggest that wherever 
feasible in the future the TEI-C should attempt to license its 
materials as such.  This gives freedom to change for specific 
commercial ventures (or whatever), but supplies an intent or 
policy that future generations of the Board and Council could 
strive to emulate.


Dr James Cummings, InfoDev,
Computing Services, University of Oxford

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