[OSM-legal-talk] Public Domain versus CC Attribution Share Alike License

spaetz osm at sspaeth.de
Wed Sep 3 20:29:56 BST 2008

On Wed, Sep 03, 2008 at 11:51:36AM -0700, Sunburned Surveyor wrote:

> What can't you do with OSM data under the Creative Commons license
> that you couldn't do with data in the Public Domain? To me it seems
> like the only two (2) major differences are sharing your improvements
> to the data and attributing the work of OSM. That's basically it,
> correct?

A bit more tricky, but I am not a lawer. 1) It's unclear how to attribute data. Theoretically every contributor to OSM data can request that he is to be attributed. I can just see the credits screen scrolling past before you can get to see any map.
For this exact reason OSM can not even take any other data that is published under the same license as OSM. We just cannot guarantee proper attribution. Which is different from public domain and is different from the GPL. and sucks majorly.

Similar as in software the question remains unclear of what a derived and what a combined work constitutes. If I work at some secret agency and print the locations of the secret nuclear facilities on an OSM map, I can't prevent the Mossad from publishing the thing after I've given it to them over the weekend. The combined work is CC_BY_SA now.
Or let me print a book with hiking routes and put lots of OSM maps in there. I want to see the lawyer that guarantees you that you won't be sued as not the whole book is being given away under a CC-BY-SA license.

Is showing additional data on an overlay that can be turned off creating a derivative? Is printing it on a OSM paper map a derivative? Not impossible to answer but no definitive. People will always tell you, ask your lawyer or wait for the judge to decide :-).

> It's not like the current Creative Commons license for OSM forbids
> commercial use. So the only organizations that would benefit from
> mapping data in the public domain would be organizations that can't
> share data improvements because of security or competition concerns,
> or those that don't want to attribute OSM as a source. Is that
> correct?

commerical use is fine.
but theoretically you need to attribute the whole chain of users in CC-BY-SA. Which can get pretty unwieldy if you want to print a map and you have to credit 500 agencies and 50000 mappers and everyone else who ever touched the thin.

Note that these views and opiniions are entirely my own and private ones and not OSM view points. And I am not a lawyer either :-).


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