Licence Approval Request: Open Government Licence - Oman


#1

I would like to seek the approval of Oman’s Open Government Licence.

1. Link to the full text of the license
http://www.oman.om/wps/portal/index/opendata/ogl/

2. Rationale for the “Open Government Licence - Oman”
The objective of the OGL-Om is to provide an easy to understand licence for Omani government agencies to apply to their data/websites in order to comply with the Omani government’s Open Data Policy. The licence had to be available in Arabic and English, and it was easier to convince the government to use a short document that was developed locally and in which their domestic law was taken into consideration.

3. Explanation about how the license may be used
The licence is intended to be used by government agencies in Oman. It applies to data and to content. (Oman has no sui generis database protection and therefore only copyright restricts the use of data). The licence provides the legal framework for members of the public to be able to use government data freely.

4. Compare and contrast to the most similar approved as OD-conformant licenses.
The Omani OGL is written using language similar to the OGL UK 3.0 and OGL Canada 2.0. The Omani OGL is mostly an even more simplified version of these two licences.

However, there is one additional significant article in the Omani OGL that is not found in these two:

_Article 5 _
Prohibitions
You are not permitted to take any derogatory action in relation to the data which would be prejudicial to the honour or reputation of the Data Provider.

This provision has been added because moral rights under the Omani copyright law are inalienable and cannot be waived by contract. The closest provision to this found in an approved licence is in the Taiwanese Open Gov Data License which says:

3.1. By utilizing the Open Data provided under the License, User indicates his/her acceptance of this License and all its terms and conditions overall to do so, and shall make the reasonable efforts with respect to moral right protection of the third parties involved.

The rights protected by Article 5 of the Omani OGL are the same as the moral rights that users should respect under Article 3.1 of the Taiwanese licence.

Similarly, Section 2(b)(1) of CC-BY 4.0 recognises moral rights and that these rights will not be affected by the ilcence in circumstances where the law does not permit the licensor to waive them by contract:

Moral rights, such as the right of integrity, are not licensed under this Public License, nor are publicity, privacy, and/or other similar personality rights; however, to the extent possible, the Licensor waives and/or agrees not to assert any such rights held by the Licensor to the limited extent necessary to allow You to exercise the Licensed Rights, but not otherwise.

The Omani legal system is one of these jurisdictions in which CC-BY 4.0 will not have an effect on the status of the right to integrity (the only moral right we have besides attribution) since this right is inalienable and may not be waived by contract.

5. Explain the benefit the new license brings over already approved OD-conformant licenses which would outweigh the costs of license proliferation?
The Omani OGL provides a simple to understand licence written in the Arabic language for government agencies in Oman. It is politically difficult to convince the Omani government to adopt a foreign legal document originally written in a foreign language and which does not use the same legal terminology as the Omani legal system. This licence provides a practical to encouraging Omani government agencies to allow members of the public to use their content legally.

6. Identify which recommended conformant licenses the new license is compatible with, and how?
The OGL Oman is practically compatible with CC-BY 4.0. The primary condition under the licence is attribution, which is the same as CC-BY, with OGL Oman requiring fewer formalities in regard to the labelling of modifications.

In regard to Article 5 of OGL Oman on moral rights, CC-BY 4.0 Section 2(b)(1) recognises moral rights, such as the right to integrity (i.e. the content of Article 5 of OGL), are not covered by the licence, and requires the licensor to agree to waive these rights or to not assert them in cases where the law permits this. In Oman, the law does not permit waiving these rights, and therefore CC-BY 4.0 has the same effect in Oman in regard to Article 5 of OGL Oman.

7. Provide a link to any public drafting process for the license.
OGL Oman was not developed through a public drafting process.


#2

Thanks for submitting this @bluechi and sorry nobody has replied yet.

This strikes me as potentially considerably broader than existing moral rights provisions:

Curious what others think. Here’s copy of a machine translation, for convenience:


#3

Thanks for responding @mlinksva. Yes, the moral right may goes beyond the moral right to attribution. However, under Omani copyright law, these two moral rights are inalienable and cannot be waived by contract.

If this provision makes it impossible to approve the Omani Gov Licence, would the problem be resolved if we have an additional provision that deems the contract to be complied with if the user complies with CC-BY?


#4

@bluechi relatedly, thanks for contributing to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_law_of_Oman :smile: I see the links to Omani copyright law have apparently broken and been replaced with archive links. Have there been updates since?

I imagine explicit allowance of use under CC-BY would work for conformance, though exact language (i.e., potential ambiguity) would matter.


#5

I agree that the proposed Clause 5 goes wider than moral rights. It is close to the provision in the original Canadian Open Government Licence “You shall not use the data made available through the GC Open Data Portal in any way which, in the opinion of Canada, may bring disrepute to or prejudice the reputation of Canada”. This lasted 24 hours.

The solution to the inalienable moral rights issue in CC-BY 4.0 2(b)(1) cited seems to be an acceptable solution, and if this is what Oman want to achieve then they could adopt this wording precisely - which was designed specifically to cater for the case of moral rights in jurisdictions that do not allow them to be waived.

Better of course would be simply to adopt CC-BY 4.0 itself as the open data licence used by Oman, or perhaps to allow the user the choice of whether to use the data under the Oman licence or under CC-BY.


#6

Thanks for your responses @mlinksva @dirdigeng !

Re latest updates to Omani Copyright Law, there have not been any updates since 2008. The honour and reputation integrity moral right remains an inalienable right that cannot be waived by contract.

Would adding a new article that allows the user to comply with CC BY as an alternative to complying with OGL-Om work? I looked at the Taiwanese licence, which has been approved by OKFN, and it has this clause:

4.2. The License is compatible with the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 International. This means that when the Open Data is provided under the License, User automatically satisfies the conditions of this License when he/she makes use of the Open Data in compliance with the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 International thereafter.

Here is my attempt at re-writing it using the same language as the OGL-Om:

Section (X)

You automatically satisfy all the conditions of this licence if you comply with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

I find adding a new section a much easier mechanism from the Omani perspective than, say, deleting Section 5 completely. If such a solution would be acceptable, I can make a formal proposal to amend the licence accordingly.

Thanks for your advice!


#7

@bluechi potential problem with “You automatically satisfy all the conditions of this licence if you comply with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence” is that the problematic clause 6(4) is not a condition, but an exception to the license grant. The inadequate grant is the problem, not any conditions in the license. Just an initial thought, would love to see what others think.