[OSM-legal-talk] PD vs SA: The eternal battle

Peter Miller peter.miller at itoworld.com
Sat Oct 25 17:49:46 BST 2008

> > The promise that someone will hold you in higher esteem if you abandon
> > your principles rarely works out.
> I don't think this issue is anything to do with esteem, but what
> principle here are you asserting we would be abandoning? The principle
> that if commercial companies use OSM data, they must be forced to give
> away their proprietary data as well? If so, that's not a principle I
> share.
My company (Ito World Ltd) needs to be able to combine Share-Alike data from
OSM with copyright data from other sources and process it using proprietary
software and produce rendered images or conclusions that we can sell (and
not have to give away for free). Without an expectation that the new licence
will allow this then ITO would not be participating in the project. For the
avoidance of doubt I fully expect commercial users of the data to be
required to make their improvements to the OSM dataset itself back to the
community and we are trying to get a set of words together to ensure that
these distinctions are as clear as they can be in the licence (although
there will of course be grey areas on the boundaries, which is why the Use
Cases are so important).

> >> Less time and effort goes to proprietry maps. More people
> >> have a vested interest in making the mapping data accurate.
> >
> > There's a difference between people coming to expect that you will do
> > work for them for free and people learning that they can contribute to
> > the project.
> I find it hard to believe that commercial enterprises would be
> comfortable with the obvious risk of depending on an unpaid community
> to work for them, *especially* if they weren't contributing to it.
> Any commercial user of OSM will have a vested interest not only in
> contributing to its accuracy, but in being *seen* to contribute.

I remind councils and other people interested in the project that there is
no reason why they can't pay people to work on OSM. There is some funny idea
that because it is an open-source project and that the results are free that
people have to do it in their spare time. This is clearly not the case with
Linux or Firefox and increasingly I think we will see council officers
updating OSM when roads open and get closed themselves in company time. I am
presenting OSM to the professional transport community in the UK on Tuesday
and will be making just this point.

> [...]
> > Community projects should not serve as random acts of kindness or
> > distributed potlatch for corporations and local government. They
> > should serve the community.
> I disagree, community projects (like everyone else) *should* practice
> random acts of kindness. And I believe the OSM community would be
> better served by being more business-friendly. If only half of the
> commercial users of OSM choose to contribute back, we'll still be
> better off for their contributions. Which we won't get if we scare
> them away with "if you use OSM, we can force you to give away stuff
> you paid for".



> Jonathan.
> --
> .....................................................................
>            Dr Jonathan Harley   .
>                                 .   Email: jon at parkplatz.net
>             Zac Parkplatz Ltd   .   Office Telephone: 024 7633 1375
>             www.parkplatz.net   .   Mobile: 079 4116 0423
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