[OSM-legal-talk] Deconstructing the "loss of data" claim
aledmorris2 at gmail.com
Wed Feb 20 01:15:46 GMT 2008
John - this is ridiculous. Of course we can slap a new license on our map
data to better protect it.
Why do people persist with this notion that maps cannot be copyrighted? The
Ordnance Survey has won a number of court cases.
On Feb 19, 2008 11:54 PM, John Wilbanks <wilbanks at creativecommons.org>
> Hi everyone. My name is John Wilbanks. I am the VP for Science Commons
> at Creative Commons, and I'm the one who wrote the Protocol for
> Implementing Open Access to Data.
> I've been lurking here for a couple of weeks. I don't like showing up
> and posting without getting a sense of the community. But I think it's
> important to join this debate and get your responses...I'll stay here on
> this list, I'll take questions, and I'll take flames. I'm glad you're
> having this debate. It's a good debate. And I'm stoking the fires of it
> with this post - but I think you deserve my honest sense on this, and
> not a mumbling political post.
> I am speaking here as an individual who endured 18 months of research
> into open data as part of CC, but not on behalf of CC the organization.
> > > The issue was quite simple. We need to have a license that better
> > > protects the OSM data
> I'm going to be a little provocative here and say that your data is
> already unprotected, and you cannot slap a license on it and protect it.
> This sounds to me like someone deciding to put a license on the United
> States Constitution. You're welcome to try that - but that license will
> not change the underlying legal status of the Constitution, which is the
> public domain.
> That means I'm free to ignore any kind of share-alike you apply to your
> data. I've got a download of the OSM data dump. I can repost it, right
> now, as public domain. You can perhaps try to sue me - though I'm pretty
> sure I would win. But you absolutely couldn't sue anyone who came along
> and downloaded my copy and then reposted that same data as public
> domain. There's no copyright on your data, and that means that only the
> people who sign your deal are bound to it, not anyone who gets it from
> the people who sign your deal. Unlike the copyright on a song, which
> travels along with the song no matter what, the share-alike is
> restricted to the parties of the contract. It's called privity - see
> That's why the ODC was something that CC didn't support. It holds out a
> promise of power that is illusory. Privity + no IPRs = easy to repost as
> public domain.
> > Do we? What's the threat? How has it been assessed?
> The threat comes from people who are worried about data "Capture" - but
> it is wrong to think that the law is a magic wand here. GPL style
> approaches only work in the presence of copyrights. They simply don't
> have the power in data. The real answer is: if you put your data online,
> it's essentially in the public domain.
> Bad people know this and will exploit it. That's what you don't want to
> allow. But simply posting the data gives the bad people a lot of power.
> The nice people are going to obey your rules and be constricted by them,
> but not the bad people.
> I would encourage you to think not about the threat, about those who
> will take the data and not recontribute, or who will sell the data, than
> about the good people. Given that the data is already in the public
> domain, whatever license you choose, how will you instead *reward* those
> who think it's worth being a good citizen? That can be done with moral
> statements of normative behaviors and a trademark for OSM - only those
> who behave get to use it and advertise themselves as OSM compliant.
> It's a far healthier strategy in many ways than relentlessly trying to
> stamp out perceived violators. One can imagine a data owner beginning to
> empathize with the RIAA, who see violations everywhere and in so doing,
> loses focus of the opportunities for good outcomes.
> > > OSM never started out as a PD project so why would we think that it
> > > would be better to recommend it go PD now?
> Because that's the legal status of the project. My copy of your data is
> in the public domain. It doesn't matter what the wiki license says -
> that license only protects copyrighted things. You can choose to use
> contracts to entangle users, like the ODC does, but it will only block
> the good guys. The bad guys can work around that in less time than it
> takes to download your data.
> ps - Jordan Hatcher, who drafted both the ODC and the PDDL, is a
> remarkable attorney and far more knowledgeable on the details of the
> contracts than I am. I'm proud to call him a colleague.
> legal-talk mailing list
> legal-talk at openstreetmap.org
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