[OSM-legal-talk] The big license debate

Laurence Penney lorp at lorp.org
Thu Mar 1 13:16:11 GMT 2007

David Groom wrote:
> 7)  I have thought for some time what we need is our own license.


I've been meaning to post something more substantive on this topic, 
but I agree that this would indeed be the best way forward.

My day job is in the font business, wherein there has been endless 
discussion about standardizing end-user license agreements for retail 
fonts (for the convenience of customers), and trying to encode them in 
some kind of computer-readable form (so that applications could expose 
or even restrict what is allowed with the font). It's gone nowhere. 
Few companies, least of all the big ones like Adobe, care to expose 
their carefully crafted EULAs via another avenue of interpretation.

More to the point, over the last few years a very talented typeface 
designer, Victor Gaultney, has been designing and extending Gentium 
[1], a huge Unicode font. It was always his intention to allow free 
download and usage, yet there was no CC license that he found 
relevant. So he wrote his own, the Open Font License [2], which he has 
been promulgating at typographic conferences recently. It's worth a 
look to see the special clauses that free yet high quality typefaces 
(there are very few of those) need, according to the main designer 
working this way. One clause, for example, allows for forks but 
insists upon a new name for the forked font.

I expect we would consider offering up the OSM license as a model for 
a CC geodata license. If CC are not interested, then other FLOSS geo 
projects would be free to use our license anyway.

-- Laurence

[1] http://www.sil.org/~gaultney/gentium/
[2] http://scripts.sil.org/OFL

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