[OSM-legal-talk] licensing working group report

Mikel Maron mikel_maron at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 19 17:27:01 GMT 2009

Hi Peter

Yesterday we held the first meeting of the Licensing working group. At the last Foundation Board meeting before the holidays, we decided to convene a working group to expedite the final process of moving OSM to the new license. In attendance were Steve Coast and myself from the Board, Grant Slater from the technical team, and Jordan Hatcher, the lawyer who has been working on the ODL.
> I had not heard of this working group before. Could you clarify who is on it, what is the brief for the group and when it was formed? Has Steve's role in this changed or is he still in charge of 
> the drafting process?

Well pretty much what I said. We decided to form a working group at the last Foundation Board meeting to help usher the new license into existance and adoption. Steve, Grant and myself are on the working group. Jordan Hatcher was invited to the group due to his involvement in the ODL. Steve is chair of the group.

Following this first version, a community of users and legal experts around the license will be developed to generate public comment and review, and work on refinements to the license. As the ODL evolves, OSM will be able to take on new revisions without the large task of getting re-licensing permission from our contributors.

> To be clear. You saying that the full license text will only be available for review by the community 'after' it has been released to the full user base for acceptance? If so then it would seem that 
> the next we will see of the license will be a copy in our inbox and a request to sign it or leave the project and have our data removed from the database? If this is the case then it puts a huge 
> responsibility on the board to get it right first time. If you do get it right then that's great. If not then we are all in a bit of mess are we not? Could you say who is 'in the loop' on the license 
> drafting process and has seen each of the recent updates? Have any key external users or bulk data providers seen a recent draft of the license and given their support? What if a major end 
> user (Flickr) or major data provided (AND) has a problem with it?

We will publish the license as soon as its gone through these final steps of legal review. That will precede the actual process of license adoption. We're not sure of the exact time frame yet, to be discussed this week.

There's no loop. The license has been in the hands of lawyers, clarifying legal details.

> I understand from the above that the license will include the provision for an organisation to change the license subsequent to its agreement. It seems a very sensible provision but means we will 
> be placing considerable trust in that organisation. Will this be the OSMF or a different organisation, if so then which one? If it is the Foundation then we urgently need to address 
> the deficiencies in the articles of association which current give far to much control to one person. If it is another organisation then I assume you have thoroughly checked it out.

This is under discussion, but have to reserve more details for the moment. It is likely not the Foundation.

So what's next? A technical team meeting will be held this week to discuss the technical implementation. Next week we will hold another licensing working group meeting, where we'll produced the final integrated plan of license and technical process, and timeline for moving to the new license. We'll have another update following next week's meeting.

I'm here to answer any questions.

> Various questions have been asked on this list over the past few months; I won't repeat them, but I am sure people would welcome some answers. If they are not addressed by the new l
> license then it seems likely that they will be raised immediately afterwards which will be more messy and may result in lower uptake.

We understand the license won't be perfect when it's first released. But we must move forward. With everyone's help, refinements to the license for the next draft will address this questions.

> Prior to release do update the wiki pages that relate to the new license? I have added a new category 'Open Data Licence' to make it easier to locate these pages. I suggest that in particular 
> you note on the Use Cases page which ones the license will allow and will not allow. This will make it easier for end users to confirm that it is suitable for their needs.
> http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Category:Open_Data_Licence

There will be thorough communications every step of the way. Might ask for some help from everyone on the wiki though, as there will be quite a lot to update there.

> I wish the Foundation success in this important change.

Thank you!

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