[OSM-legal-talk] 'Fair Use'

Rob Myers rob at robmyers.org
Mon Jan 12 13:50:10 GMT 2009

On Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 1:37 PM, Peter Miller <peter.miller at itoworld.com> wrote:

> What information can we use from these sources under 'fair use' rules?

Under English & Welsh or European law, none. There's no Fair Use exception here.

Under American law, whatever you can get away with in court.

> I have already annotated the map of Rafah with some additional Suburb
> names taken from an OCHA map citing 'UN OCHA - fair use' as the
> source. To what extent can we add additional content from these
> sources without getting approval from the copyright holder?

There can be no certainty unfortunately.

> The
> wikipedia article gives general guidance on this.

Yes following the Wikipedia guidelines is probably the best way of
handling this.

It might also be worthwhile contacting the UN (for example) and
getting agreement that copying the names doesn't break their

> Do people have an opinion what level of use would be acceptable?

s/use/risk/ . ;-)

> Should we create a 'fair use' page on the wiki and spell out our
> conclusions?


I personally would advise against using Fair Use as a justification
for anything going into OSM though. Try asserting that the facts
aren't copyrightable instead (I know that's it's own can of worms, and
IANAL, TINLA). I am a proponent of Fair Use, I just don't think it's a
good match for community projects with lots of downstream users.

- Rob.

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