[OSM-legal-talk] US local government data: negotiating license?

Mike Collinson mike at ayeltd.biz
Mon Oct 6 17:00:57 BST 2008


Unless I missed out, I don't think you got any replies to your message below?  Let me stick my neck out and give a few hints on how to proceed. I am sure it could be improved and others might like to comment on suitability.  A boilerplate has been suggested before and it would be good to evolve one.  The usual caveats, IANAL and I've negotiated with business but not government departments.

A good general method is to flip things around, explain what you are going to do with the data and ask them to contact you by, say, the end of the month if the use does NOT meet their terms of use.  I.e. there is no work and explicit public decisions for them if everything is good.   Send by letter, preferably registered, and keep a copy.  Keep the letter as short as possible, the less the extraneous information, the less to query.  If they do not reply by the end of the month (make sure it is a reasonable amount of time), they have effectively given you permission to proceed.  If there is any later question, you refer them to the letter.


"Dear xxxx,

Further to my receipt of a digital file containing location data for a network of recreational trails and your kind telephone conversation of xxxxx, I am now writing to confirm the intended use of the data.  As release of the data would be difficult to withdraw, I would be grateful if you would contact me before xxxxx if the intended use does not comply with any specific terms of use requirements that your department has. 

After xxxx, the trail data will be merged into a global public database called OpenStreetMap. OpenStreetMap is a non-commercial project to create and provide free geographic data such as street maps to anyone who wants them. The project's website main page http://www.openstreetmap.org shows how the data can be used to make free maps.  Anyone can use the data for any purpose provided that they comply with attributing and sharing provisions - current information about which can be found here http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/index.php/OpenStreetMap_License.  As a courtesy your own crediting information will be added to  http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/index.php/Attribution .


At 08:42 PM 23/09/2008, David Carmean wrote:

>Have any of you persuaded a local (US) government to release data under a license 
>compatible with OSM?  I've been sent a shapefile for a network of recreational trails 
>by a local government association (represents nine counties).  
>I explained my plans on the telephone to the official who sent me the files, and she 
>gave me crediting info, but she did not specify that the data must in fact be credited, 
>nor did she specify any other terms of use in writing.
>Should I call their legal department?  Or might there be a better way to guide them 
>into giving us what we need? :)

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