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Re: SVN checkin

Le Sat, Jan 12, 2008 at 05:08:59PM +0100, Morten Kjeldgaard a écrit :
> I had a hard time convincing some of the MOTUs that PDB files are  
> scientific data and thus in the public domain. I have to admit, that  
> I can not document that claim from anywhere. I asked on the pdb-l ML,  
> and the replies I got from the most qualified people, in charge of  
> the databank, was in fact that no one has ever given that question a  
> serious thought. The PDB _identifiers_ themselves are apparently  
> protected.
> I got around the MOTU's objections by writing the "runtest" script.
> I it my firm belief, however, that scientific data historically is in  
> the public domain, and that is also what I feel is the way it should be.

Hi Morten,

There are proeminent examples of curated databases that are not in the
public domain. Swiss-Prot, for instance, was only free for academics,
until 2006 where it was released under the Creative Commons
Attribution-NoDerivs License. None of these terms are free according to

In the case of the PDB, there is a an advisory file in their archive:

 The archival data files in the PDB archive are made freely available to
 all users. Data files within the archive may be redistributed in
 original form without restriction. Redistribution of modified data files
 using the same file name as is on the FTP server is prohibited.

This is explicitely permitted by the guildeline number 4 of the DFSG:

So to me it seems that we do not need to modify the sources of mustang.

In other cases, for instance if there were Swiss-Prot files, the
consensus in Debian is that this is non-free and that the modification
of the social contract made in 2004 confirms that every file in Debian
must be free. Also, there is a consensus that even if a file is only in
the upstream tarball and not in the binary packages, it is in Debian and
must be free.


Personnaly, I disagree with this approach, because purging upstream
tarballs from data files is in my opinion not useful to anybody, but in
a communauty we have to focus on what unites us and forget what divides…

Have a nice day,

Charles Plessy
Wakō, Saitama, Japan

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