[OSM-legal-talk] OSM content on locked platforms

Mike Collinson mike at ayeltd.biz
Mon Apr 5 21:32:58 BST 2010

Interesting, the CC BY SA quote does rather suggest that such an application is not CC BY SA compliant.  

Two linked observations almost lead me to believe that the closed nature of a platform is irrelevant, what is important is the effort made by the individual developer to keep data/images free and open:

1) Is it not the closed nature of the application rather than the operating system? For example, If there was a button such as "email me the current map tile",  that would still be Apple conformant (I expect) as the application is still locked to the phone and CC-BY-SA conformant as the map is copiable.

2) If the "London A-Z" is published as a good old book, no mechanism is provided for exchanging the work with others.  They don't give you a photo copier.  So the acid test would be whether there is a deliberate attempt to block access to the copying the map (rather than the application) at a reasonable but not necessarily identical level of quality ?

Another reason to change to ODbL? :-)    Here the A-Z map would most likely be a Produced Work which can be under any type of license. The application developer would be obligated to make the underlying data available, via an open download that does not require an an iPhone.  The one area that is still up for community guideline development is to what extent the in-memory transformation process he used should also be made available.


At 12:36 AM 3/04/2010, Frederik Ramm wrote:
>    a recent discussion on talk-de has unearthed an interesting question 
>with regards to iPhone/Appstore and other locked platforms.
>You will have to correct me if I'm wrong about the technical aspects of 
>the Apple product range, since I am firmly on the Cory Doctorow side 
>when it comes to iSomethings.
>But as I understand it, the iPhone is a platform that does not allow you 
>to easily exchange software or data between devices. You can send 
>someone an email to his iPhone but you cannot send them an application 
>to install, and you cannot even send them, say, a new dictionary for the 
>word processor software unless that word processor software explicitly 
>has a feature that provides for such exchange.
>Now let's assume someone publishes, for a price, an application called 
>the "London A-Z" for the iPhone, which is basically a map viewer with a 
>data component, all data being derived from OSM and stored in the 
>Now, CC-BY-SA requires that whoever buys this application should have 
>the full right to make derivative works (of the data), pass it (the 
>data) on, etc.etc., and indeed it also says:
>"You may not distribute, publicly display, publicly
>perform, or publicly digitally perform the Work with any technological
>measures that control access or use of the Work in a manner inconsistent
>with the terms of this License Agreement."
>If I understand things correctly, then the whole iPhone/Appstore/Apple 
>operating system combo is just that - a technological measure that 
>controls access and use of the work, because you cannot retrieve the 
>work from the iPhone without "jailbreaking" it, and you cannot install 
>it on another iPhone without "jailbreaking" that.
>I would be interested in your thoughts on the legal situation here. Is 
>distributing an OSM-derived data set on such a closed platform still 
>CC-BY-SA conformant?
>Could I, if I were selling such an app, just say: "Here's the package on 
>my web site for download - of course to install it on the iPhone you 
>must go through the Appstore and pay $9.99 but if you jailbreak your 
>phone then you can use the free version from my web page. Of course by 
>jailbreaking it you violate Apple's license conditions..." - I mean it's 
>not the software provider's fault that only DRM'ed software goes on the 
>iPhone. Or is it?
>This also leads to interesting follow-on questions, namely
>(a) what would the ODbL say in a similar case?
>(b) is it in our interest - in the interest of "open data" - to allow 
>such distribution of our data through closed platforms?
>legal-talk mailing list
>legal-talk at openstreetmap.org

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