[OSM-legal-talk] [OSM-talk] OSMHQ (Open Street Map High Quality): Viable Alternative For The National Map Corps

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Wed Sep 3 20:25:37 BST 2008


Sunburned Surveyor wrote:
> I think the viral part of the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike
> license is the "Share Alike" part.


> You can't take OSM, build something
> on top of it, without sharing the improvements with others. 

The current license requires you to make the end product (not necesarily 
the "improvements" altogehter) available under the CC-BY-SA license as 
well, IF you decide to publish the end product. Say you add a lot of 
data to your private copy to make a nice T-Shirt print of the map later; 
the T-Shirt print will have to be CC-BY-SA; the data you added is 
untouched (of course anyone could read your extra data from the T-Shirt 
and enter it into OSM).

> In that
> sense the OSM license "infects" the improvements and requires them to
> be released under the same license. I think the viral language in the
> GPL is a little stronger, however. If the share alike clause was viral
> in that sense any map containing any OSM data at all would have to be
> released under the same license, even if the other map data did not
> come from OSM.

This is the case. If you buy, say, a proprietary dataset containing the 
location of gas stations, then plot that on top of an OSM map and 
publish the result, the whole result (including the position of gas 
stations as readable from the map) has to be CC-BY-SA. You do not have 
to publish your raw data about gas stations however, the license only 
affects the end product.

All that being said, there are many people in OSM who would actually 
prefer a non-viral license (including me). Hope is more or less lost to 
get the whole of OSM to adopt a BSD style license, but I hope that we 
can at least somehow flag data that comes from PD sources and/or has 
only been touched by people like me who assert that everything they 
contribute is PD. See this page for details:


You guys in the US have a good base there with the TIGER data; any US 
user who makes a modification to anything imported from TIGER and who is 
*not* on the above list basically makes that data item un-PD forever, so 
I hope to see many of you on that list. One could then one day create 
OSM extracts that have all the data untouched by people who want to use 
the viral license.

And you are right: This is a topic for legal-talk, and in fact has been 
discussed there many times over. I'll cc this post and set a Reply-to 
header but I fear it will be removed by the mailing list software.


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

More information about the legal-talk mailing list