[OSM-legal-talk] The big license debate

OJW streetmap at blibbleblobble.co.uk
Thu Mar 1 22:35:32 GMT 2007

On Thursday 01 March 2007 01:41, Mike Collinson wrote:
> 1. The license rests with the OSM Foundation, not with individual
> contributors.

Single point of failure, requires everyone to trust the foundation, requires 
the foundation to exist forever and not change its principles.  And the only 
situation it would be required is when someone wants to use an OSM map without 
contributing anything of value back to the community.  

Other projects seem to cope quite well with having lots of peoples' work 
combined. Wikipedia the obvious example (and a relevant one, if OSM is the 
"wiki-style map"). 

Really, it's all very well people saying "I want you to give me all your 
dataset work without restriction, but I expect to have full copyright 
protection on the artistic work I create from it".  But they can't seriously 
expect that kind of hoarding to be endorsed by a sharealike project like OSM.  

It's like the people who tried to buy linux with a BSD license[1] and got 
ridiculed by everyone who heard it.   The reason attempts like this are so 
absurd becomes clearer when you calculate the actual value of all the 
volunteer time.  For linux this was estimated at $1,000,000,000 [2], and GNU 
has a good quote about why so much work has been copylefted:

"Sometimes I work on free software, and sometimes I work on proprietary 
software--but when I work on proprietary software, I expect to get paid."

To the people who want OSM data as an input to their proprietary commercial 
products, you need to start calculating the cost of time we've spent 
collecting that data, to realise what you're asking for.

[1] http://lwn.net/Articles/106353/
[2] http://www.dwheeler.com/sloc/redhat71-v1/redhat71sloc.html

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