[OSM-legal-talk] Is the "data share-alike" road navigable?

Tom Chance tom at acrewoods.net
Thu Mar 8 13:18:52 GMT 2007


On Thu, 8 Mar 2007 13:57:34 +0100, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:
>     everybody agrees that our current license does not achieve your "2":
>> 2. Database of nodes, etc. - share-alike licensed
> Because as long as you don't publish your data, the SA doesn't kick  
> in - as you said:

Exactly. So what does your suggested "data share-alike" road achieve? Let's say we get a lawyer to write us a specific license that says that only new data in that form is a derivative work, not pretty maps or TomTom files and so on. If all the pretty maps and TomTom files were proprietary, all it means is that anyone distributing the data they grab and modify has to give it back. That seems so unlikely to me that you might as well say the data is out in the public domain (except for the attribution provision, of course)!

> Many people say that it is not too bad, because as your book  
> depicting the bins and trees is SA, someone else could now simply  
> take the locations from your book and put them back into OSM, so  
> while you aren't forced to give us your data, you are forced to allow  
> others to "reverse-engineer" your data from your final product.

Right, and this is the only area where we seem to be able to get the desired effect of a share-alike license at the moment, which is why I don't understand the "data share-alike" suggestion..

One alternative might be to draft a license that says: you can make pretty maps and reserve all rights, but you must release the source material used back under this same license. Such a requirement has been discussed in the CC community, but it's generally regarded as too onerous or complicated to implement in a copyright license. Is this something that you, Richard and others who disapprove of a blanket BY-SA license, would approve of?

Then we get into defining source material. GPX files used? Illustrator files? Sketches made whilst out surveying? Osmarender configurations?

The other alternative would be to say: you can take the facts presented in this map and enter them back into OSM, but you can't scan and print copies of this precise form. But hey, we can do that anyway, right? We just don't because of easter eggs.

> I must honestly say that I am getting a bit tired by "let's ask a  
> lawyer...". That phrase is heavily overused, especially by people  
> who'd like an issue to simply go away. It should be us who decide  
> what we want, and then find ways to make it happen (with the lawyers'  
> help in finding the right wording to serve our wishes).

Until we can overturn copyright law in each country, the Berne convention, TRIPS and other legal barriers we're going to need to consult lawyers to determine if certain things are legally possible, and if we're correct in our thinking about the conventional application of certain rights, terms like "derivative work", and so on. I'd rather the issue was resolved, not that it went away! I hate the legal uncertainty that OSM sits in the middle of right now.


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