In May of this year we announced we had adopted Creative Commons licenses for ChemSpider. We thought we were doing the best thing for the community and, some agreed. However, the leaking of an internal memo from a Creative Commons discussion highlighted that our adoption of CC licenses for data was not necessarily appropriate. Over teh next few days a spark was lit in the blogosphere regarding our adoption of the licenses, whether it was appropriate or not and what the alternatives were.  Discussions have also continued offline out of the eyes of the blogosphere. I prefer to keep some of those conversations private.

We do not yet have a decision regarding the most appropriate licensing scheme to adopt but have chosen to remove the CC licenses at this time until we make a decision.

I understand that this may result in yet another discussion about our choice. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t. So be it.

If you look at the original post about us adopting the licenses you will see our intention

“With the redesign of the website we have structured ourselves in a way to add licenses as we see appropriate now. So, as of today we have added the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 United States License and the appropriate logo is on all sections of a Record View except for the predicted properties. Once we get approval from our collaborators for this same license (and discussions are underway) then the whole record view will be Licensed.

At that point, you are free :

  • to Remix : to make derivative works

Under the following conditions:

  • Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
  • Share Alike. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same, similar or a compatible license.

If any readers would like to engage in a discussion reagrding other licnesing schemes aligned with our intention my request is that these occur offline. Please contact me at antonyDOTwilliamsATchemspiderDOTcom.

Stumble it!

One Response to “ChemSpider Removes Creative Commons Licenses”

  1. David Bradley says:

    Like you say Tony, you’ll be damned that you did, damned that you now don’t and probably damned either which way if you don’t or do ever again.

    I think fundamentally ChemSpider is an amazingly powerful resource for the chemistry community (and beyond) and will become increasingly so in the years to come. My gut feeling would be to do what’s best for Chemspider and hang external opinions that conflict with that basic concept. That way if Chemspider is strong and provides a useful service to the community then given your dedication and the dedication of your advisory board it will survive the blogospheric slings and arrows and the pressures from outside (non)users with their own political agendas.


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