[OSM-dev] licensing question

Serge Wroclawski emacsen at gmail.com
Thu Aug 5 13:08:14 BST 2010

On Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 7:32 AM, Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason
<avarab at gmail.com> wrote:

> Yes, I'm also pretty sure that you can just completely ignore the
> license since you're only using the data within your own organization.
> The licence only kicks in when you're doing re-distribution to third
> parties.
> (See e.g. Google's use of Linux, they don't re-distribute their
> changes, and don't have to)

That's a feature of the license, not of licensing schemes.

A license may have any number of terms in. It might say that any
changes (internal or not) are required to be redistributed back to the
upstream provider. This is a term that the original Plan 9 license
had, for example.

The issue of "Redistribution" is complicated by the fact that various
licenses use the term and some use other terms. For example the term
is removed from GPLv3 and replaced with the word "Convey", which is
defined[1]. The ODbL also uses the term "Convey" and defines it
differently and then uses the term "Re-utilization" to mean something
similar to what GPLv3 calls "Convey".

The various licenses have various terms of usage, and I think what you
(Ævar) are referring to is that GPL says in section 9 that acceptance
of the license isn't required for anything other than modification and
conveyance. But that's a feature of the GPL's wording. Similarly ODbL
(and I'm only using ODbL because it's more clear)'s section 4 has
fewer requirements for internal use than public use.

In other words, the OP does have to comply to the license internally,
but the burden of doing so for internal use is very low.

- Serge

[1] Defining what might otherwise seem straightforward terms is pretty
common in contracts and actually clarifies what might otherwise be
murky waters.

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