[OSM-legal-talk] signup notice

Stefan Baebler stefan.baebler at gmail.com
Mon Jun 1 22:04:09 BST 2009

I wasn't complaining, I'm a happy contributor.

IANAL, however, the wording there might render the "contract"
unreasonable in my (purposely extreme, I must admit) interpretation.
And I wouldn't bet on any judge's or lawyer's common sense - specially
if it is against their client's interests :)

I know OSM won't be claiming cc license on just _any_, unrelated data
produced by tools that once upon a time connected to osm.org, but some
users might (likely) be afraid to signup because of this, or some
paranoid corporate BOFHs or even ISPs might block access to osm.org to
prevent this (tainting of their network tools) for sure (unlikely, but


On Mon, Jun 1, 2009 at 10:47 PM, Francis Davey <fjmd1a at gmail.com> wrote:
> 2009/6/1 Russ Nelson <russ at cloudmade.com>:
>> I think we're running into the "programmers confuse legal agreements
>> with code" problem.  If the OSMF went into a court of law and tried to
>> claim that, because your computer connected once upon a time to OSM,
>> that everything your computer ever did thereafter had to be
>> copyrighted CC-By-SA, the judge would laugh the OSMF out of court, IF
>> he didn't fine the OSMF for contempt of court.  In order for a
>> contract to be enforceable it must be a reasonable contract.
> Well, I don't think that applies to me - I'm a practising lawyer and
> I'm not confusing a legal argument with code.
> The point is "connect" is rather a broad concept. The most obvious
> interpretation of the contact is not that tools that have ever
> connected to OSM are covered but ones that create data while they are
> connected. Whether that is the interpretation a court would chose or
> what a court would do about it (I'll come on to that) is another
> matter, but a golden rule of good contract drafting is not
> deliberately to draft something that says something other than it
> appears to mean on a straightforward reading. Its hard enough to get
> things right, best not to leave things to chance at the drafting
> stage.
> What the contract almost certainly means (and I'm only recently a
> reader of this list so I could be wrong) is that tools which make use
> of the OSM data are caught (is that right?). If so, best to say it.
> Two final remarks: bringing a bad case does not result in proceedings
> for contempt of court in my jurisdiction (you might end up paying the
> other sides costs on an indemnity basis but that is rather less
> scary). Nor is it true in pretty much any common law jurisdiction that
> only reasonable contract terms are enforceable (things are different
> for contracts of adhesion and/or consumer contracts).
> I'm not trying to make trouble, just trying to help by offering my
> legal knowledge.
> --
> Francis Davey
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