[OSM-legal-talk] hands on commercial applications

Iván Sánchez Ortega ivan at sanchezortega.es
Thu Jun 19 16:44:08 BST 2008

El Jueves, 19 de Junio de 2008, Mika Semann escribió:
> [...] we would like to develop a [...] system which shall include a moving 
> map system as one out of many other features. 
> We probably have to use commercial aeronautical data due to different 
> reasons (availability, reliability etc.). This data shall be displayed on 
> top of a basic "background" map [...]
> [...] I would like to use the openstreetmap data for the [background map].

> So the question is: are we allowed to use parts of the Openstreetmap data
> in our system ???

At first sight, I don't see any problem with doing so.

However, I remember some discussions about whether displaying a map on top of 
other constitutes a derivative work or a collective work, and thus the 
composite map should or should not be re-licensed under CC-by-sa. If I recall 
correctly, there is no problem just displaying some data on top of OSM.

Anyway, you should keep OSM data separate from commercial data. If you 
distributed both sets of data together (as the same file/package), you would 
likely be forced to license the whole package as CC-by-sa...

> What we of course can't do is to put this commercial aeronautical data we
> will buy (or licence) under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0
> license as it is not our own data.

... which you're not allowed to.

So, whatever you do, do not merge OSM data with commercial data.

> If it is not allowed to use the data as described above would it be
> different if we give our customers the possibility to upload Openstreetmap
> data on our device themselves?

It would be a good idea to do so, because:
- It'll help your clients tell apart OSM data from commercial aeronautical 
- You can provide your clients with weekly updates to the base map

> From my personal point of view, being a (beginning) distributor to
> Openstreetmap myself I don't see a big problem  if someone uses this data 
> for a commercial application [...] I personally wouldn't like
> the idea if someone would SELL this data, let's say as an data update for a
> commercial application.

You're allowed to, though. However, due to the way copyleft works, the first 
customer would be allowed to redistribute the data.

That leaves a lot of room for commercialization. For example, I could start a 
company that sells OSM-derived aeronautical data. You won't be paying for the 
data: you'll be paying my work of updating, correcting, and providing you 
with the latest, best set of data available.

In your case, you're allowed to charge your clients for, (for example) 
providing monthly automatic updates of the OSM data. Your most computer-savvy 
clients won't sign up for that, as they can update the device manually 
without too much effort (and write tools and how-tos), but your laziest 
clients would gladly pay a few bucks a month for not having to worry.

Anyway, please keep the datasets in your device separate. Allow users to get 
the OSM data *back* from the device, as they're entitled to. Allowing to turn 
datasets on/off, and updating individual datasets is also a good idea.

And, most importantly, do not rely solely on my opinion :-)

Iván Sánchez Ortega <ivan at sanchezortega.es>

When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened
or not; but my faculties are decaying now and soon I shall be so I
cannot remember any but the things that never happened.  It is sad to
go to pieces like this but we all have to do it.
		-- Mark Twain
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