[EMBOSS] Files included in EMBOSS but licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs

Peter Rice pmr at ebi.ac.uk
Fri Jul 29 07:46:42 UTC 2011

On 28/07/2011 15:38, Charles Plessy wrote:
> Dear EMBOSS developers,
> (CC Debian Med mailing list)
> while working on upgrading Debian's emboss package to version 6.4.0
> (congratulations, by the way), I found some files in EMBOSS that are
> not considered ‘Free software’ by Debian.  They were actually present
> in past releases as well.
> Their license is Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-ND
> 3.0), and it disallows modification of the files.  The presence of these files
> in EMBOSS makes it impossible for Debian to redistribute it in our operating
> system.  I have confirmed with the UniProt consortium's helpdesk that, even in
> isolation, these files are covered by the CC BY-ND license.  I see three
> possible solutions.

Ummm .... in what sense would *you* be modifying the files?

UniProt's license http://www.uniprot.org/help/license says

> License & disclaimer
> License
> We have chosen to apply the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs License to all copyrightable parts of our databases. This means that you are free to copy, distribute, display and make commercial use of these databases in all legislations, provided you give us credit. However, if you intend to distribute a modified version of one of our databases, you must ask us for permission first.

So I see no problem for EMBOSS in including the files.

The only problem is for someone "modifying the files and redistributing 
them" without permission ... but strictly that would not apply to most 
uses of a UniProt entry (otherwise you could not use one entry as input 
and distribute the results).

The licensing is there to prevent redistribution of UniProt without 

Anyway, you can just delete them from the Debian duistribution of EMBOSS 
- and find your own way to run the QA tests. I don't think we have a 


Peter Rice


Peter Rice

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