[OSM-legal-talk] Three Ideas: Document Clarifying Intent, License Tag, and Contributor Agreement

Sunburned Surveyor sunburned.surveyor at gmail.com
Thu Sep 4 17:53:00 BST 2008

After reading some of the licensing posts, and some of the OSM wiki
information on licensing, it really seems that OSM is treading into
some new legal territory. I think OSM really has two (2) paths it
could follow in this area. It could (1) attempt to avoid the issues
altogehter, by throwing everything into the public domain, for
example. Or, it could (2) attempt to be a leader in this relatively
new area of law, and accept some of the risks invlolved in that

Let's just say, for the sake of argument, that the OSM community
decided to go with the second route. Here are some things that might

[1] Produce a document explaining the communities intent for allowed
uses of the data. This wouldn't be a legal document like a license or
a contract, but a document that clearly stated what goals we are
striving to acheive through our different licensing decisions. We know
what we want (I think), we just don't have a legal document that
matches this exactly. A document that clearly explains our goals for
allowed uses of OSM data will provide everyone with the logic behind
current and future license/contract/public domain decisions. It will
be our "data licensing mission statement". The law could (and will)
change, this licensing mission statement would not.

[2] Have a standard tag for OSM features that indicated the license
the data was released produced under. You could easily sort trough OSM
features based on license type if we had this sort of tag.

[3] Have contributors to OSM click-trough an agreement stating that
OSM has the ability to relicense the OSM data as they see fit, for the
good of the community and in compliance with the data licensing
mission statement described in item [1] above. This might prevent
having to throw stuff away.

These are just some suggestions. Perhaps they have been discussed in
the past already.

The Sunburned Surveyor

More information about the legal-talk mailing list