[OSM-legal-talk] Contact Info For Tom Hughes Regarding Public Domain Mailing List

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Sat Oct 25 16:56:53 BST 2008


Simon Ward wrote:
>> Not: You don't give us your data, fine, then we create a complex legal
>> licensing framework that will ultimately get you bogged down …
> That’s enough, really.  As unserious as Richard can be this is just
> trolling.  If you have a problem with the share-alike, you’re doing
> something wrong, you’re bogging yourself down. 

Richard has already pointed out that those were my words, not his. And 
it is not unserious, it is exactly what numerous people on this list 
have said out loud: The see a certain potential in OSM's share-alike 
concept to "free up" other data.

I'm all for free data, free software, people giving away stuff, 
encouraging creativity, not bunkering their assets and so on. What I 
don't like about share-alike is the small-minded attempt to codify this 
giving away into something legally binding. To me, this is deeply based 
in a negativist, paranoid world view where everyone is out to cheat you. 
Which *may* be actually true but I choose to live my life on the 
assumption that most people are good, which makes for an altogether 
happier existence, or at least it worked for me so far.

If I give you a gift, there's a certain social/moral obligation for you 
to give me a gift too, at the next comparable opportunity. You can 
choose not to and you won't be sued, maybe you have good reasons, 
whatever. That's the way I like to do it with my work: I give it to 
others as a gift; no strings attached, you don't have to give something 
back but if you use a lot of free stuff then, unless your morals are 
completely fucked, you will become part of that culture and give things 
away as well. (There will always be some who take and don't give, but 
then there will also be those who give and don't take so who cares. OSM 
got TIGER for free, encompassing about 15 times the volume of data 
amassed by the community so far at the time.)

What share-alike advocates do is they give away something that looks 
like a gift and they keep droning on about how this is all free and cool 
and a culture of freedom and so on, but before you open the parcel you 
have to sign a contract that says you have to give something back or be 
sued. (I say this to keep the gift analogy; I know that share-alike only 
forces you to give back what you do with the gift, not something else, 
but it doesn't make a difference for my point.)

In a world of good people, you don't need share-alike. You only need it 
once you subscribe to the "they'll cheat you where they can" world view. 
Maybe I'm just not old and grumpy enough for that yet.

That being said, "for the avoidance of doubt", I do support the ODbL/FIL 
combo; if we manage to iron out some of the issues then we are likely to 
have something better than we have now. But that doesn't change my 
perception that share-alike advocates are a bunch of worrywarts.


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

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