[OSM-legal-talk] Rules for the foundation to hold data assigned to it under

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemed.net
Sun Jul 22 00:32:18 BST 2007


80n wrote:

> If OSM had been a public domain licensed project then I don't  
> believe that we would be where we are now.  To take one example,  
> the People's Map ( www.peoplesmap.com), would now have all our  
> mapping data for the whole of London, instead of just a few major  
> roads.  I don't see them planning to put any of the data they  
> collect into OSM or the public domain.
>
> I'm not sure that AND would have donated their data to OSM if we  
> were using a PD license.  That would be the equivalent of giving  
> their data to Navteq and TeleAtlas on a plate.

But I think we have different opinions on whether any of this matters.

Sure, TeleAtlas could take AND's data. Given that TeleAtlas is a  
Netherlands-based company with their own data I think they're pretty  
unlikely to want to do so. Sure, People's Map could take our mapping  
data for London, or Oxford, or anywhere. It doesn't really make any  
difference to us whether they do or not. They're never going to be  
able to match OSM because there's no fun, no sense of community, no  
sense of ownership.

Heavens, there isn't even a map editor yet. But they promise that  
there will be; it'll be Flash-based (http://forum.peoplesmap.com/ 
forums/3/topics/14); and it'll originate from OSM (see credits at  
http://peoplesmap.com/). Sounds familiar? And (assuming I've guessed  
correctly) they can do this, of course, because Potlatch is public  
domain. I am supremely relaxed about this, and am confident it will  
do them bugger all good whatsoever. If, in two months' time, they  
have conquered the world by the power of a modified version of  
Potlatch, feel free to remind me I said this.

As Frederik wrote earlier:

"What will happen is: commercial entities will do exactly what you  
say, make some additions and sell it, but before they know it we will  
have overtaken them, again and again and again, because no commercial  
company can match exponential growth. So it is *they* who will be  
struggling to continue incorporating the new material we produce  
daily into their proprietary system."

(Incidentally, I'm trying to resist deploying the shibboleths of the  
GPL vs BSD debate - not because of the lack of arguments: after all,  
I'll take your Linux and raise you one Apache - but because data is  
fundamentally different to software and, for that matter, creative  
works, and perhaps if that were more widely appreciated we wouldn't  
have such an issue with licensing at all.)

cheers
Richard
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