[OSM-legal-talk] New to the list - writing your own license
mattl at gnu.org
Sun Apr 1 03:51:03 BST 2007
Hi everyone, I'm new to the list, though perhaps not so unfamiliar to
some of you. I joined after finding this list from Richard's blog. I
found Richard's blog for the first time today after stumbling upon some
CPC-related stuff on Wikipedia. I forget how I got there, it had
something to do with waking up beforehand.
My background to all of this is primarily software, and my work with the
GNU Project, and prior to that a lifetime of usage of free software and
public domain software, but also I am heavily interested, as a comedian
and author of how concepts of 'freedom' should be applied to creative
works and other types of data, including maps.
I'm also not a total n00b to OpenStreetMap, as I took part in the
Reading mapping weekend last year and proved my ability to ride a tiny
bike and eat a lot of chili.
From my point of view, we have too many licenses and licenses are
confusing because they are primarily slices of legality that exist to
serve a particular 'set' of rules on what you can do. Legalese might be
fun for some of us, but for the majority it's hard work. The easiest way
I find to think about a license, is a list of dos and don't. So,
thinking about mapping information and the kind of data that
OpenStreetMap makes, I'd ask the following questions.
* What are we producing?
* What purpose does it serve to the general public?
* What purpose does it serve to a smaller group of people, such as the
community of people who want what we're producing or might adapt it in
* What methods should be in place to ensure this information stays
useful to the people we're producing it for?
So, if we look to apply these questions to an existing known solution -
free software, we wind up at a situation where we pick a license with
copyleft or not. I'd argue for copyleft in virtually all situations,
except things like codecs.
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