[OSM-legal-talk] Making OSM Public domain

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Sun Oct 26 10:14:12 GMT 2008


    this is a posting calling upon everyone to work together in spite of 
"political" differences.

Peter Miller wrote:
> My concern on this list at present is that all the discussion about PD/SA
> politics is making this process harder. Please please can the PD advocates
> get their own list (within OSM or outside) and take their valuable political
> conversation there

The issue is not going to go away just by telling people to please talk 
elsewhere. The very "process" that you speak of has no legitimation or 
authority in the project that would make it immune against being questioned.

The PD community has the same right to talk to the OSM public and try to 
get their support as anyone else in OSM. The foundation is in no 
position to dictate a new license to the project, and neither am I or 
you. The foundation said that they believe PD would face too much 
opposition but that's just a wild guess; nobody has ever even tried to 
ask the OSM contributors, and the foundation does not, to my knowledge, 
intend to. The foundation has not, to my knowledge, honestly 
investigated the pros and cons of PD versus trying to build your custom 
international IP license, but instead started out from the presumption 
that nothing less than share-alike will do. The foundation does not own 
the project and has as much right as anyone else to draw up a new 
license and try to get it accepted.

We're steering this ship based on wild guesses, assumptions, and gut 
feelings. In this situation, it is even more understandable that it is 
very uncomfortable to have people questioning the course of the ship 
because you have no facts or evidence to indicate that you're right.

I am fully aware that the whole PD/SA discussion makes things harder; 
everyone had just about accepted that we won't go PD when a new group of 
  people comes in with renewed energy and you start thinking that maybe 
they do have a point.

I also think that we won't be able to go PD at this time, but we have to 
take these people seriously and we have to get them on board, rather 
than telling them to shut up because everything is decided already - 
because, in fact, nothing is decided and if we create a situation where 
they feel compelled to reach out to the OSM contributors and ask them to 
reject the ODbL in favour of a PD dedication, maybe with a hint of 
conspiracy thrown in ("the foundation wants you to accept this license 
but they're just pushing through their agenda..."), then we are all 
worse off.

The arguments for PD are sound and valid, as are those for the ODbL or 
other licenses. Real people are behind these arguments, people who can 
read and think and make up their mind about what they believe is best. 
Telling them to shut up and go away will not help anyone.

I am a staunch defender of PD superiority myself, but prepared to accept 
the ODbL/FIL construct as a step in the right direction. I think if we 
take them seriously then we can convince them to join that.

If we tell them to shut up and go away, they might answer "no, YOU shut 
up and go away", and what would we do then? "We have been here for 
longer than you have" can hardly be a working argument in a project 
whose membership doubles every few months.


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

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