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There is a study published as a PDF under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0.

Can I create a commercial (proprietary) web application that uses data from the study and makes computations as proposed by the study, and have users pay for the usage of this web application? So basically I would apply the data in the study to the specific case of my web application user, and I would do the calculations on input data entered by my user, with my own implementation, but using the data in the study.

What implication would this have on the license of my application? Would that then be a derivative work?

UPDATE

I'm talking about the BSIMM study. They asked a large number of companies about their software security practices, and gathered the results broken down by industry for example. They also identified 100+ activities that are somewhat common to ensure secure software, and proposed a way to assess yourself against this empirical best practice. What I had in mind is basically just a calculator for a given company to assess itself in a nicely presented webapp, based on the data in the study (assessing how that specific company fares compared to the ones in the study - this is the very purpose of the study, they even propose methods to do the comparison).

  • How are you using it? Are you redistributing the PDF as part of your application or included in it somehow? Note that if you just read something (e.g. a copyrighted textbook) then in general you do not need permission to "use" the knowledge that you gained from reading that thing. It would be the same as if I read Bob's book about how to program in Python, and then I 'used' that knowledge to write a program in Python. That doesn't mean that I need Bob's permission to redistribute my Python program. – Brandin Oct 16 at 9:49
  • I am not distributing the actual PDF again, but there is a lot of data in it, which my computations use. So that data is in fact included in my web application. Also as it is a web application, it's not distributed, only used for computations internally. My prospective users get to see a web app, where they can enter input data, and the results created from their data AND the data in the original study. To put it another way, the original PDF was the result of a research, which they published under CC-BY-SA, and included a lot of data points. That data would be used for further computations. – Gabor Lengyel Oct 16 at 10:37
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    The protections would probably depend on what the 'data' are. In general facts cannot be copyrighted. Can you copyright data? – Brandin Oct 16 at 12:44
  • Well it's not actually a secret, I'm talking about the BSIMM study. They asked a large number of companies about their software security practices, and gathered the results broken down by industry for example. They also identified 100+ activities that are somewhat common to ensure secure software, and proposed a way to assess yourself against this empirical best practice. What I had in mind is basically just a calculator for a given company to assess itself in a nicely presented webapp, based on the data in the study. I'm still not sure whether I can do that though. – Gabor Lengyel Oct 16 at 13:01
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    In nations that don't recognize database rights, the answer is a very easy, "You do not have obligations under any copyright license, because you are using no copyrighted material. Facts do not contain copyrightable expression themselves." In jurisdictions that do recognize sui generis database rights (like the EU) I don't know the answer (but it may also be yes; I don't know). – apsillers Oct 16 at 13:25

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