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

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Thu Sep 4 09:32:27 BST 2008


> It's not like the current Creative Commons license for OSM forbids
> commercial use.

This is true but some commercial uses might become un-viable because of 
the SA license.

My standard example is this:

Assume you spend half a year making a nice hiking atlas from OSM data, 
putting a lot of manual work into improving the auto-generated base map. 
In the process you also collect a lot of data which you contribute to 
OSM of course (although the license wouldn't even force you to!). Your 
final product is a printed book that you want to sell for 50$. Which you 
may - as long as it is CC-BY-SA. This again means that any publisher 
from, say, China can take your atlas, create a thousand cheap copies of 
it, and sell them for $19.99.

This situation will make it very difficult for you to find a publisher 
for your original work.

So, business models that work around consulting or services in 
connection with OSM will work, but those built around creating and 
selling a product less so.

I view this as unfortunate because I think that if someone uses his own 
time and labor to create something on top of OSM then he should be 
entitled to revenues coming from his time and labor. Of course it is 
hard to tell which part of the revenue is due to *his* time and labor 
and which is due to the OSM material that he has built on, and the 
proportions will surely vary across projects. But still - currently we 
basically say you own *nothing* of what you create on top of OSM, or 
more precisely, you do own a part of it but you're not allowed to 
exercise rights that would normally come with ownership.

The new license that is being discussed will probably address this 
problem by trying to constrain the viral aspect to the data or the 
database, and granting you more freedom to exercise rights on a 
non-database derived product.


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