Leaving the ILS vendors out of this one. You may have noticed that the Simile people made a modified dump of their catalog available as a data set in RDF, MODs, etc. There’s quite a few people in code4lib that are doing experiments with library data and who also believe in the concept of Open Data, so torrents were made to help share the information.

Well fast forward and the dump has been removed with the reason of “We are currently evaluating legal issues about ownership and licensing possibilities and hope to be able to be back online with it soon.”. Due to this the tracker for the torrents was also shut down.

While nothing is known for sure the debate arose in #code4lib that this may be related to the lack of concrete information on who owns the records when 3rd party records are used such as OCLC’s or LoC’s. OCLC has some guidelines up but it was debated whether that was a legal license and it was also debated whether LoC is public data being a government entity. The only thing that was agreed on was that it would likely take better statements from the 3rd parties or a legal case to make those who work with this data feel safe.