[OSM-legal-talk] Future license upgrades, the heart of the matter

Simon Ward simon at bleah.co.uk
Tue Jan 27 23:19:37 GMT 2009

On Tue, Jan 27, 2009 at 01:41:06AM +0100, Frederik Ramm wrote:
> * WHAT changes can be made to the license once it is accepted;

I think this should be limited to avoid overstepping.  We define the
basic things we want the licence to do—collective attribution, share
alike for derived data sets, aggregation allowed without sharealike,
etc—looking intended use and non‐use cases would be a start.  Other
revisions of the licence should only be acceptable providing they don’t
regress on an intended use case, and only clarify existing terms or
add/change terms to work for a pre‐defined use case.

> * WHO can make these changes (whom do we trust to make them); and

Limiting the licence as above limits the amount of trust we have to
place in any one party, at the expense of another possible licence
upheaval if everyone decides some major changes are required.

> * HOW will such changes become vetted by the community, if at all.

I’d like a requirement for any proposed changes to be brought out in the
open with plenty of notice and ample opportunity to comment.  This
doesn’t guarantee the changes are vetted, but at least there is a
chance.  The acceptable changes again place a limit on how much damage
can be done without requiring cooperation of a large proportion of

A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a
simple system that works.—John Gall
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