[OSM-legal-talk] [OSM-talk] Results from license debate - assing (c) to OSMF

rob at robmyers.org rob at robmyers.org
Tue Jul 17 15:22:07 BST 2007

Moved to the correct list. ;-)

Quoting Nick Black <nickblack1 at gmail.com>:

> The point here, is that OSM's current licensing discourages a lot of
> potential users from using the data - user's whose business models are
> based on selling paper maps, for example.

As far as I can tell, there are very few real impediments to using OSM  
data in print maps or to basing print maps on renders from OSM. OSM's  
BY-SA doesn't apply to anything outside of the map itself. Attribution  
is manageable (particularly with copyright assignment). The source for  
the map doesn't have to be provided.

There are interesting cases, such as the waterways data, where large  
datasets that could be combined with OSM maps to the benefit of the  
public cannot be used because of their licence. Here I would hope that  
people can take the long-term view and work to build an environment  
where data that now seems impossible to open up will eventually be  
able to be freed. OSM may eventually provide enough of a rival to the  
OS that there is no reason for the OS not to be opened up.

BY-SA is a relatively new licence and its application to maps is even  
newer. I am glad that OSM are getting professional legal opinion. If  
there's anything I can do to help with this I will.

> By enforcing share-alike,
> OSM makes it simpler for this category of user to use OS or other
> proprietery data, than using OSM data.

If the project is not seeking to contribute to OSM, is not seeking to  
pass on to its users the freedom that it believes is such a benefit,  
and is not after anything other than cheaper data, it is not a loss to  
OSM or to that project's users if that project has to pay its way in  
the world.

Given the effectiveness of OSM in gaining data so far, and  
particularly following the AND deal, I don't think that the licence  
needs changing to be more appealing. Its may still need changing to  
better reflect the international legal realities of working with data,  
or the differences between geodata and maps, though.

- Rob.

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