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Re: licence for Ontologies

From: Peter F. Patel-Schneider <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 2004 08:16:21 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <20041027.081621.49468856.pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
To: henry.story@bblfish.net
Cc: www-rdf-interest@w3.org, rdfweb-dev@vapours.rdfweb.org, atom-syntax@imc.org, users@bloged.dev.java.net

From: Henry Story <henry.story@bblfish.net>
Subject: Re: licence for Ontologies
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 2004 11:54:53 +0200

> Note: I have CCed a couple of other lists, especially the 
> www-rdf-interest list as I think this problem is more general than any 
> particular ontology, be it FOAF or Atom-OWL.
> The original question was asked here:
> <http://groups-beta.google.com/group/atom-owl/>
> There I suggested that ontologies should perhaps have a license that is 
> more restrictive than the BSD license, in that they should allow free 
> copying, but only very limited changes, nevertheless allow isomorphic 
> ontologies to be developed (just change all the URI's) these being 
> completely free to use any of the language in the original.
> -------------------------------------------


I don't see any particular technological reason to forbid unlimited
changes.  One reason that I feel this way is that I haven't seen any
reasonable distinction between reasonable and unreasonable changes.

> But what does not seem quite right is taking an ontology, and 
> redefining the terms to mean something completely different, or making 
> slight changes to the relations between the terms, yet still leaving 
> one the impression that one is speaking about the same thing, 
> especially as it seems so easy to make the difference obvious by 
> changing the URIs that compose the ontology.

Yes, but there may be reasons to use the same names, such as being able to
communicate with other.  You may think that completely different
redefinitions are not appropriate, but what about changing the definition
of a URI like http://www.whitehouse.gov/president from ``whoever was
annointed by the supreme court'' to ``whoever really won the election using
the constitutional rules''?


Peter F. Patel-Schneider
Bell Labs Research
Received on Wednesday, 27 October 2004 12:09:21 UTC

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