[Rd] R datasets ownership(copyright) and license

Ted Byers r.ted.byers at gmail.com
Wed Apr 4 00:03:31 CEST 2012

> -----Original Message-----
> From: r-devel-bounces at r-project.org [mailto:r-devel-bounces at r-project.org]
> On Behalf Of Hadley Wickham
> Sent: April-03-12 5:01 PM
> To: r-devel at r-project.org; pystatsmodels at googlegroups.com; Dirk
> Eddelbuettel
> Subject: Re: [Rd] R datasets ownership(copyright) and license
> > 2. we considered all datasets factual data thus not copyrightable (in
> >   USA? around the globe?)
> This is definitely true in the US, but not true globally.  I have no idea
> which jurisdiction a lawsuit would apply.
> Hadley

Why worry about jurisdictions in which you neither work nor live?  

I would expect such rationality (factual data not being copyrightable) in
the US, Canada, Europe and Australasia, so they're not likely an issue.  And
I doubt any such country would try to impose their laws on someone living
and working elsewhere.  In many parts of Asia, where I have lived and worked
at least, copyright violation is rampant, and the perpetrators face no real
consequences; at least none I could see.  

As for banana republics, such as many countries in the Muslim world, like
Iran, I really don't care what their laws have to say.  They do have a
history of trying to impose their lunacy on the rest of the world (as
illustrated in the death threats from Muslim religious authorities against
the Danish cartoonists or Salmon Rushdie).  There are early histories of the
Byzantine empire, that are about as factual as such documents of that age
can be, but publishing some of  them in a Muslim country could get you
killed because they record 'crimes' committed by 'Muslim hordes'.  There
were riots in many Muslim countries not so long ago just because the Pope at
the time quoted one of those histories.  I can't imagine any western
democracy helping some back-water banana republic to impose sharia law, or
any other madness masquerading as law, on its own citizens.  I don't believe
this due to an irrational belief in the benevolence of such governments but
rather because I expect they would take a dim view of such egregious
extra-territoriality that such banana republics would be attempting.

My point is simply that if I have data, or other information, that I want to
publish, and Canadian law says it is not copyrightable because it is factual
data, then great; and if some back-water banana republic objects then I'd be
quite happy to tell them were to go and what to do with themselves when they
get there.   As a Canadian citizen living and working in Canada, only
Canadian law applies to me.  If Canadian law tells me that X is merely
factual data and thus not copyrightable, then that is enough.



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