[OSM-legal-talk] licence - what happens next?

Peter Miller peter.miller at itoworld.com
Sat Sep 6 11:30:04 BST 2008

At the State of the Map conference in Manchester in summer 07 there was a
panel discussion on the licence at which it was agreed that a new licence
should be prepared (9,000 registered users at that time).


A draft licence was produced and blog announcement made in January 2008 (
<http://www.opengeodata.org/?p=262> http://www.opengeodata.org/?p=262) with
the comment “both Jordan Hatcher and the project’s sponsors Talis have
assured us that work is going ahead, and that a new revision will be
available in the near future” (21,000 registered users at the time)


In April there was a post that mentioned that the OSMF was “working on the
proposed change in OSM Licence” (http://www.opengeodata.org/?p=292) (32,000
registered users at this time)


At the SOTM08 conference I understand that there was going to be a session
on the licence but that it was called off as the expert lawyer had other
business to attend to (50,000 registered users) I am not aware of any
official announcement of progress since then.


In September 08 the new OSMF board was appointed (60,000 registered users)


Possibly the new board could provide a timetable for further progress on
this and what they need from us to do to get it moving. If funding is a
problem then I am confident that sponsors for this work could be found.
There is, I believe, still an offer of £2,000 on the table to support this
work from one particular commercial company, and I have spoken to another
commercial company that is interested in supporting OSM and who currently
gives very substantial amounts of money to Navteq each year.


With reference to giving the OSMF board a free hand to change the licence in
future as they see fit, I don’t think one has to look too far to see the
dangers. Look at the lobbying around oil-drilling and medical care in the
USA for starters to see what would happen! Remember that data of the sort we
are collecting it potentially very valuable (TeleAtlas and Navteq sold for a
combined value of $10billion last year).


Let’s not go round the debate again about the merits of different licences,
lets do what was agreed 15 months ago. Yes, there will be a PD subset of OSM
data, and possibly a PD dataset should be produced each week alongside the
CCBYSA version but I believe that there is still a desire for a viral
licence and the OSMF needs to make sure it happens.



Have I got this wrong?





Peter Miller


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