[OSM-legal-talk] I am not OSMF's lawyer (was Re: Click-through)

Jordan S Hatcher jordan at opencontentlawyer.com
Sat Oct 18 12:02:39 BST 2008

Hello everyone,

(from co-author of ODbL and PDDL)

I have been busy and so am just now going back through the OSM legal  
talk list. Before (and if) I comment further on some of the  
substantive legal issues I have to clarify one point rather  
forcefully, so forgive me being blunt:

On 17 Oct 2008, at 19:51, Jochen Topf wrote:
> But the layer should make a comment. Its his job to tell us, what will
> work and what will not work. If we create a license that is not
> enforcable, why bother?

On 17 Oct 2008, at 21:54, Frederik Ramm wrote:

> If we (or our lawyers) should
> believe that ODbL without clickthrough doesn't work, and that  
> therefore
> a decision in favour of ODbL is a decision in favour of clickthrough,
> then we must let people know - *before* they decide.

I know that OSMF is engaging with a law firm to look at this pro  
bono, but let me be clear on my role.

I am not OSMF's lawyer. I have not at any time given legal advice to  

I, with Charlotte Waelde, drafted a community solution for a copyleft  
data licence with funding by Talis. Talis did not sponsor us to draft  
a licence for them, but rather to look at the problem of a copyleft  
data licence from a general and academic standpoint and put something  
forward. This was the ODbL.

Science Commons released their Open Access Data materials that called  
for a public domain dedication for data.  Seeing this, Talis  
sponsored us to draft a public domain dedication. This is the PDDL.

Because we switched tracks to the PDDL, Charlotte and I didn't go  
through as many rounds of revision and feedback on the ODbL (the  
copyleft licence) as the PDDL.

OSMF approached me with an interest in supporting further development  
of the ODbL in the same way as Talis (as general support for the  
project). They supported further development and made suggestions  
based on the OSM use case, but the ODbL from my standpoint is and  
always will be a community solution. I was never under any obligation  
to change the licence specifically for OSM.

I have met with OSMF people and explained how the ODbL is drafted and  
how we thought it could work, but again, do not offer and have never  
offered specific legal advice for OSMF or its implementation.

I Am Actually A Lawyer (IAAAL) But I Am Not Your Lawyer (BIANYL).

Even though my time has been financially supported to work on open  
data, I worked at a significantly reduced rate and have donated lots  
of pro bono time over the past year on both this and the PDDL  
licence. I am trying, like almost all of us, to balance a busy work  
load and a personal life against a desire to volunteer time on open  
source / open content projects (including this one).

I really really like the project and will donate time to work on it  
from this perspective (not as OSM's lawyer but as the co-creator of  
the ODbL).



Mr. Jordan S Hatcher, JD, LLM

jordan at opencontentlawyer dot com
OC Blog: http://opencontentlawyer.com
IP/IT Blog: http://twitchgamer.net

Open Data Commons

Usage of Creative Commons by cultural heritage organisations

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