[OSM-legal-talk] The big license debate

Lars Aronsson lars at aronsson.se
Thu Mar 8 23:20:13 GMT 2007

On March 2, Frederik Ramm wrote:

> That's a very ideological point of view. Personally, I am not in this 
> because I have an interest in domains of freedom, or concepts of society 
> and how they deal with property, or whatever. I am in this because I 
> like maps and think that there are many fascinating things you can do 
> with a digital world map, and because I am frustrated that such data is 
> often very expensive or hard to find.

See, you contradict yourself.  In the last sentence, you recognize 
that you are interested in having the freedom to use geographic 
data, in ways that traditional providers such as the Ordnance 
Survey don't offer. But previously you say you aren't interested 
in expanding this domain of freedom.  How will it then come into 
existence?  How do you get your eggs without the hen?

> In fact, it seems to me that you're trying to hijack my (and others', 
> probably) fascination for maps and make it into a vehicle by which you 
> can force your "domain of freedom" onto others.

I'm not forcing this freedom to play with free geodata on anybody.  
Those who enjoy being locked by the copyright restrictions of the 
Ordnance Survey can purchase a copy of their data.  And Linus 
Torvalds forces nobody to use Linux.  He hasn't hijacked anybody's 
fascination for computers.

> It is of course the original authors who can grant anyone any 
> kind of license on their work that is already in Wikipedia, but 
> I'd be interested in how this "original authorship" is 
> determined, especially in situations where a contribution is 
> made but later completely changed.

That's a very easy question to answer.  All contributing authors, 
whose contributions can merit copyright (just fixing a spelling 
error is insufficient), collectively own the copyright.  This 
means that any single one of them can veto publication.  For many 
parts of OpenStreetMap, there is only a single contributor who has 
collected GPS tracklogs from his town and drawn the map.  In these 
cases, you need only ask permission from that user to go beyond 
the standard license.

  Lars Aronsson (lars at aronsson.se)
  Aronsson Datateknik - http://aronsson.se

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