I'm writing a translation assist & dictionary-like software to assist in translating Japanese to English. To help with this, dictionary datasets in XML format by Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group would be immensely helpful, but they happen to be licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Licence (V4.0). They have their licensing directly available here.
I have no qualms about properly crediting the incredible work of the group, but if possible, I'd like to license my software under another license, possibly a more software-oriented open source license like MIT, but my question here is to what degree can I couple my software to these datasets before it is considered derivative and must also be published under CC BY-SA?
- Am I correct in assuming that if I were to directly include these files in the distribution of my software, still as separate files, this would force the software too under CC BY-SA?
- If I were to not distribute the files bundled with my software but instead instructed potential users to go download these files from the original source to use them with my software make a difference?
- Does the fact that my software would contain code specifically targeted to making use of these files (i.e. parsing the specific XML scheme found in them) make it a derivative regardless?
While I wouldn't necessarily need to include any of the copyrighted data and you could argue that something like importing data from an XML file is generic enough that it could be used with any similar data set, I'm not aware of any other projects that'd use the exact same scheme, meaning if my software is specifically built to read data in this scheme, the connection to the data is rather obvious. In other words, does writing code that imports data in a specific XML scheme constitute a derivative work of the data which first introduced that scheme?
Further confusing the matter, the license page for the data also mentions:
Note also that provided the conditions above [namely, CC BY-SA V4.0] are met, there is NO restriction placed on commercial use of the files. The files can be bundled with software and sold for whatever the developer wants to charge. Software using these files does not have to be under any form of open-source licence.
CC is considered an open source license, right? Does this part mean that even were the data to be distributed with any software, the software itself need not me under "any form of open-source license", i.e. CC itself? This seems rather contradictory.
What is my best option to enable use of this data with my software while ideally maintaining freedom of choosing the software's license myself, if any?