[OSM-dev] Legal question about attribution text on smartphone

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemed.net
Sun Apr 23 18:10:20 UTC 2017

Benjamin Stadin wrote:
> If you find this too silly, then let someone else respond who can 
> clarify about what OSM attribution requires and if my assumption 
> is right or not. And who may have the right to adjust such 
> statement on the OSM legal site where this is not exactly clear.
> It really isn't.
> Whatever the legal requirements are - we'll fulfill them.

Here's something clear:

If you're trying to do the minimum possible by the legalities [1], then
you're doing it wrong.

OSM has been assembled by thousands of volunteers in countless hours of
their donated time. It is the world's best geodata, paid or free. To license
the equivalent from Google or TomTom or HERE costs you £££ or €€€ or $$$.
OSM is better data and costs you nothing.

If your response to that is "how can we legally get out of showing an
on-screen credit for OSM while maximising space for our own brand"... why?
Why would you do that?

Aim to do better. Have an on-screen credit and be proud of it. Have an
easily accessible landing page on your website which explains to people how
to contribute to OSM and make it better. Be the SDK that OSM contributors
are proud to recommend rather than the one they're ashamed of. Be the good
guys, not the guys who got given a free pony but refused to say who gave


[1] Legal footnote: ODbL 4.3 says you must include attribution "reasonably
calculated to make any Person... aware that Content was obtained from the
Database". OSM has traditionally taken the consensus view that "reasonably
calculated" means "what other providers are doing". So if Google and HERE
would insist on an on-screen credit in your case, ODbL 4.3 would imply that
OSM also requires one. But this really isn't the point.

[2] https://twitter.com/Anonymaps/statuses/651704467390398464

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