[OSM-legal-talk] licensing working group report

Peter Miller peter.miller at itoworld.com
Mon Jan 19 18:52:59 GMT 2009

On 19 Jan 2009, at 17:27, Mikel Maron wrote:

> 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.

Possibly you could update timeline article to explain clearly how this  
license will be implemented, and then we can assist you with that  

>> 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.

I am pleased that we will see the license prior to actual adoption. I  
think this will be very helpful.

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

To be clear, I would expect that a number of people within OSM and the  
Foundation would review each draft of the license as produced by the  
lawyers. Can you say who sees each draft of the license who can  
confirm that it is heading in the right direction.

> > 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.

This core issue still seems to be up in the air which is unfortunate.  
The organisation, if it is not the Foundation, needs to be highly  
trusted to make only suitable changes over the long term and maintain  
the viral elements of the license. I suggest that the Foundation  
should be the host unless there is an obvious alternative stable  

If the foundation was the host, then we would need to appoint some  
really top-notch trustees to agree to any changes to the license, but  
I think we could now attract them. This would require changes to the  
articles of assoiciation, and possibly require the foundation to gain  
charity status, but that is very possible and could happen in the next  
few months. I would be happy to advice you on this.

>> 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.

Can we not help on this draft and there does still seem to be a lot to  
do? Our lawyer should be able to review the license with a 48 hours  
response time against the Use Cases. We would be happy to pay for this  
and make the results available to the community.

> > 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 would be happy to help.

> > I wish the Foundation success in this important change.
> Thank you!

And you!


> Mikel
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> legal-talk mailing list
> legal-talk at openstreetmap.org
> http://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/legal-talk

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