[OSM-legal-talk] The big license debate

Mike Collinson mike at ayeltd.biz
Thu Mar 1 00:45:38 GMT 2007

At 10:06 PM 28/02/2007, Robert (Jamie) Munro wrote:

>A lot of the recent debate has just been going down the wrong alleys,
>discussing things like what we can and can't do with the current
>license, or with the GPL, or with Inkscape etc.
>That is all irrelevant. What we are discussing is what is best for OSM.

... Or not "What license is best" but "Why do we need a 
license?"  "What are our objectives?"

Excellent! It is why I've just joined legal-talk.   This should be 
nailed down long before any third-party lawyer is involved (though 
any comments from sympathetic experts to help frame discussion is of 
course more than welcome).

I've mulled this over for a couple of days as I thought a 
from-first-principles laundry-list approach would be important.  To 
my surprise, the resulting list was very small.  As I'm new, I may be 
trailing over old ground but from the tenor of debates I've seen, a 
restatement can't hurt.

Core Requirements:

To provide a clear unambiguous framework (both legal and in terms of 
statement of intent) on a global basis in which to:

1) encourage private individuals to contribute geodata to OSM

2) encourage commercial entities to contribute geodata to OSM or 
otherwise assist OSM's objectives without charge

3) disseminate geodata as raw data or as a rendered maps with as 
little restriction or requirements on use as possible.  Any 
restriction/requirements on use should only be such as to support the 
first two requirements.

Desirable (I think these are basically explicit restatements of the 
core requirements)

4) promote "OpenStreetMap" as a brand to create maximum awareness 
that an important non-commercial alternative exists.

5) maintain "OpenStreetMap" over many years as the primary source, 
i.e. avoid project splits

Enough for now.  My questions to the list are:  Are these items 
non-contentious across the board of opinion?  Is the list complete?


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