[OSM-legal-talk] Reverse Geocoding

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Thu Apr 3 20:04:17 BST 2008


   I had an interesting question put to me and would like to hear your

There's a company that does invoicing for certain types of road works,
like cutting grass along a road or cleaning a road. The vehicle used
by the workers has a GPS unit, and at the end of the day they have a
GPS track. Now they want to write an invoice that basically says
"1,5km grass cutting, along roads A, B, C and D - $$$".

So what they need is a "reverse geocoding" - they have a GPS track and
want some road names for it. Doesn't even have to be perfect, doesn't
need house numbers, so OSM data would be fine. 

Now what would this mean for them, license-wise? (The question they
asked is, "can we do that")?

My answer was two-part: (1) I'm not sure whether the minuscle amount
of data you would use from OSM is actually protected by copyright and
would trigger the viral SA element of the license, especially as the
data is used around some corners. (2) Even if it would make your
invoice a derived work, what would you care? (Can a piece of business
communication ever be a CC-BY-SA licensed derived work?)

The guy was obviously a bit unhappy with this unclear answer but it
was my best shot.

What's your opinion? And would it change should the proposed new license
get adopted?

There's an interesting legal dilemma here in the question whether
communication could ever become CC-BY-SA licensed. Data protection and
privacy don't normally protect businesses so it would not happen in
this example, but I could think of situations where I initiate
communication with someone and that someone is bound by legal or
professional restrictions to keep the communication private; but what
if I make it so that my communication becomes CC-BY-SA derived work?

Maybe quite academic, that one. But the previous one about the guy
writing invoices was real.


(PS: Could we please simply go PD because then I wouldn't have to
waste anyone's time with questions like this...?)

Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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