Douwe Osinga's Blog: Open Movements that closed

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Open Movements that closed

Nowadays, if you insert a CD in a computer and the CD isn't copyright protected, chances are that the computer will retrieve the titles of the songs on the CD. This happens through the magic of the CDDB. Every CD has a unique id and the CDDB has a list of songs associated with that id. Great application, nice company, you might think. But you'd be wrong. The CDDB started as a collaborative project with lots of volunteers typing in the titles of songs. But then the Internet Boom came and the guys at CDDB realized they could make money on it, so they did. Nowadays, if you want to incorporate the CBDB in a program, you will have to pay. None of the proceeds go to the original volunteers. Luckily enough, there is the FreeDB, which is free and will always be free.

Open Movements that close are not the seldom. The IMDB started as a volunteer project (but we have the YMBD (Your Movie Database)) and is now commercial. TravLang is another example. An I'm sorry to say, that, a project I helped set up, is guilty of the same crime. The good news is, we're going to open up. World66 will be a truely open source travel guide, with an open content license and probably open source code (if I get it cleaned up enough). In the coming weeks, I'll be reporting from time to time about where we're going.

Here's a first one. The license. Of course we want an open license, some thing similar to the GPL. The thing is, I would like everybody be able to copy everything. But if somebody put it on a website, it would be best if the license required them that anybody could still edit the content.At that website or with a link back to world 66. Is this feasible within Open Content?