It would be useful if you could explain why CC‑BY‑4.0 is unsuited for data in your view. Do you advocate CC0‑1.0 or OBbL‑1.0 or some other license instead? The reason I ask is that the open energy modelling community is debating a set of open data licensing recommendations at present. In most cases, neither do we get to choose a license, that is the clear prerogative of the data provider. And most, I would say, would wish to be credited, hence the need for BY licensing
Definitely requiring downstream attribution is an understandable requirement by data providers and while it does create some downstream complications, I believe it should be catered for.
To understand the issue with CC BY and CC BY 4.0 it is important to realize that CC expects them to work in a classical “layers of copyright” fashion, that is, while the creator of “Adapted Material” can licence the changes how they see fit, the “layer” of CC BY licenced material continues to exist and any terms that the “Adapted Material” is distributed on must not conflict with the CC BY licence.
Now if CC BY was truly only a licence that required downstream attribution, this wouldn’t really be an issue as providing attribution in a suitable fashion should in general not interfere with downstream reuse. However CC BY and more so CC BY 4.0 add additional restrictions on how you can downstream distribute so licensed material.
2.a.5. Downstream recipients.
B. No downstream restrictions. You may not offer or impose any additional
or different terms or conditions on, or apply any Effective Technological
Measures to, the Licensed Material if doing so restricts exercise of the
Licensed Rights by any recipient of the Licensed Material.
Obviously this disallows using DRM distribution for any Adapted Material that you’ve created and further can be read as not allowing any kind of terms that would not at least allow the rights listed in 2.a.1 to be exercised by any downstream recipient. Oddly enough CC claims that CC BY-SA 4.0 is compatible with CC BY, but if the SA terms aren’t "additional or different terms " that “restricts exercise of the Licensed Rights” I need to twist my brain in to several knots.
Now this again wouldn’t be so bad in a typical data reuse scenario, lets say you have CC BY licensed address data that you’ve included in your geo-data and you’ve modified the locations to be better, you can argue that the terms would actually only apply to the original and modified data. Previous CC BY versions explicitly mentioned Collections of works, It seems as if the explicit mention was dropped as this is typically already the law and it wasn’t necessary to repeat it.
Enter CC BY 4.0 Section 4.b
if You include all or a substantial portion of the database contents in a database in which You have Sui Generis Database Rights, then the database in which You have Sui Generis Database Rights (but not its individual contents) is Adapted Material; and
With other words inclusion in a database in the EU that is eligible for Sui Generis Database protection forces you to apply 2.a.5 B to your complete database.
This is not just me making things up, see Use of CC BY 4.0 licensed data in OpenStreetMap | OpenStreetMap Blog for the results of our discussions with CC (note: Section 4 didn’t play a role in this as it was clear that we would need to require a waiver of 2.a.5 B because of the relaxed terms for “Produced Works” in the ODbL in any case).
My take on CC BY is that is really a share-alike licence that simply doesn’t specify the exact licence you need to utilize, but otherwise has the same advantages and disadvantages as a SA licence. Characterizing it as an “attribution-only” licence which is so popular is in any case extremely misleading.
Naturally if you are not considering a scenario in which there will be multiple downstream reuses of what you are producing and that some of them may have more restrictive usage terms, you may come to other conclusions.