[OSM-legal-talk] The OSM licence: where we are, where we're going

rob at robmyers.org rob at robmyers.org
Tue Jan 8 12:56:45 GMT 2008

Quoting Dair Grant <dair at refnum.com>:

> I'm aware of the "we need to restrict you to give you freedom"
> argument, but I don't find it convincing (no restrictions can be
> made to PD data, only to derivations of it).

Copyleft is the minimal amount of coercion required to prevent (worse)  
coercion. This is old-school Liberalism (John Stuart Mill). Those who  
give up that restriction on restricting others in the name of freedom  
will find themselves restricted.

Unmodified PD data can easily be restricted. You can claim copyright  
on aggregates of PD data or add technological rather than legal  
restrictions to the unmodified data.

> I can see its merits for software, but I think statements of
> fact about the world are different.

It is convincing in the rest of society and law. ;-)

If OSM was not copyrightable/database-right-able I wouldn't argue for  
any bizarre schemes to protect it against a non-existent threat. But  
if OSM needs copyleft in order to remain free for all its users (not  
just contributors, or the central project, or customers of idealistic  
companies) then it should use it.

- Rob.

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