[OSM-legal-talk] Privacy and Terms

Matt Amos zerebubuth at gmail.com
Thu Jun 25 11:44:24 BST 2009

On Wed, Jun 24, 2009 at 11:39 PM, Frederik Ramm<frederik at remote.org> wrote:
> Russ Nelson wrote:
>> Some of the stuff is there to make sure that we have the right to
>> redistribute contributions to OSM.  This is important and useful.
> I was under the impression that these terms did not have anything to do
> with our data. The data should be governed by the license and the
> contribution agreement which I thought were separate?

you're right - the terms of use are the conditions under which we make
the site available. we make the data available under different terms
(i.e: the ODbL, or whatever).

likewise, the privacy policy deals with data we hold on users, not the
"geo" data.

>> Prohibited uses just gives us the right to kick fucking assholes in
>> the butt.  Sure, self-defense is the right of all civilized people,
>> but remember this: a judge can ALWAYS get up on the wrong side of the
>> bed and rule incorrectly.
> I'm sorry but I think you have to draw a line somewhere. Write terms and
> conditions to insure you against things that happen with 1% or 0.1%
> probability. But don't try to write something that protects you from the
> 0.0001% cases - we cannot anticipate these anyway.

i think these are pretty boilerplate documents which have been
"refined" over a period of time, i.e: the lawyerly equivalent of some
really tightly optimised assembler. for us, this may be premature

> Let's rather have a clean exit strategy and find out what would happen
> if someone were to sue the shit out of OSMF and win - let us construct
> things in a fashion that will allow the project to live on even if OSMF
> should die, rather than protect OSMF at all cost.

i think the thinking is; since OSMF is the database and service
provider, the database is an OSMF asset and could be seized (or
subject to other judgements) in case of litigation. now s/OSMF/$OTHER/
- basically, there's little we can do to mitigate this attack. on the
other hand, what does the litigant gain? if they get the database,
does it come encumbered with the existing contributor agreements?

> For example, if we build strong national chapters that, legally, are
> separate from OSMF, these could easily between themselves set up all the
> servers required to replace everything OSMF operates. With such a
> healthy backup network, it would not even make much sense for anybody to
> try and kill off OSMF.

is that the bit about "OSMF may disclose both personally identifiable
and automatically collected information to affiliated companies or
other businesses or persons to process such information on our

we could go even further than national chapters by releasing the full
history dumps (or mirroring brent's full history diffs), spreading the
data even further. of course, then whatever new DB we create is still
technically licensed from OSMF (which has become the evil empire), but
i don't think this can cause any problems other than with relicensing
in the future...

> This includes not giving anything to OSMF that has commercial value
> unless that is absolutely necessary.

hmm... i think i hear RichardF saying "PD FTW!" :-)

> In the long term, I hope that we'll
> be able to switch to a distributed server architecture where OSMF
> operated assets are but one piece of the puzzle, rather than the head of
> everything.

wow. please can i be there when the lawyers try to write a license for
this? ...i've never seen anyone's brain melt[1] before ;-)



[1] http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_WT296Ycwut8/Sd62mGEsG_I/AAAAAAAAA1U/PmLgSvUOuUk/s1600-h/scanners_endfight.bmp
teh most awsums film, btw.

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