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Re: [lmi] Terse list of valuable projects

From: Vaclav Slavik
Subject: Re: [lmi] Terse list of valuable projects
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2010 15:42:01 +0100

On Tue, 2010-03-16 at 20:10 +0000, Greg Chicares wrote:
> Many tables are published by professional or regulatory groups, and it's
> preferable for data-integrity reasons to use their authoritative published
> data, e.g.:
>   http://xtbml.soa.org:8080/xtbml/zip?nation=1
> AFAICS, those tables are in the public domain, yet in "XTbML" format.
> Apparently there's an "XTbML" schema that's copyrighted, with a license
> that's incompatible with free software, so we can't use that schema per
> se; but there's a published reference here:
>   http://xtbml.soa.org:8080/xtbml/docs/resources.html
> that I suppose we're permitted to refer to freely in order to write code
> that reads these noncopyrighted tables. If you think that's questionable,

I don't.

In fact, I have trouble seeing how could the format be protected by
copyright at all. It's a fundamental principle of copyright that it only
covers _expression_; ideas or mere facts are not copyrightable
(wordwide; see the Berne Convention and WIPO Copyright Treaty).

Information about XTbML format and how to interpret XTbML files' content
are objective facts. We cannot copy that particular XSD expression (but
then, why would we), but the facts contained in it are free to know. 

> I suppose it would be convenient to use "XTbML", if it suits our needs
> well enough, 

IMO, if it's at least somehow standard or if data are readily available
in that form (and especially if both are true, as here), then it would
be greatly preferable to use that format instead of anything custom,
even if the latter was better designed.


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