[OSM-legal-talk] Viral can be nice

TimSC mapping at sheerman-chase.org.uk
Wed Apr 21 23:29:42 BST 2010

Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason wrote:
> Maybe you do. Personally I'm pretty fond of the feature we have now
> where I know that any map that uses my CC-BY-SA data is freely
> available to me under the same license.
Yes, that is a good intention of the current license. Although SA has 
its problems, it encourages companies like cloudmade and itoworld to 
share their maps. The ODbL does away with that but pretends to be 
equivalent to CC-BY-SA, which is misleading. Actually I quite like 
dropping both SA and BY conditions, but if you are going to do an SA 
license, then do it properly!

Frederik Ramm wrote:
> That may well be; but OSM is not, in its core, a project for drawing 
> pretty maps and share-aliking them.
OSM is not essentially anything at its core. It is different things to 
different people. It is to achieve a variety of aims. To claim it is 
essentially a "data project" is meaningless to me. You may have noticed, 
I don't agree with essentialism! For the majority of OSM mappers, I 
suspect producing a raster map project IS what OSM is primarily about, 
but not exclusively. Obviously, there are users with different needs, 
such as vector data. But SA of produced works would be beneficial to 
some users, and detrimental to others. SA has historically encouraged 
commercial companies to share their maps. How is that bad? And would we 
expect them to continue? I think not.

The fact that commercial data can't be merged with CC-BY-SA could be 
said to be a limitation of commerical data, rather than a limitation of 
CC-BY-SA. As Stallman said regarding software: "If we amass a collection 
of powerful GPL-covered libraries that have no parallel available to 
proprietary software, they will provide a range of useful modules to 
serve as building blocks in new free programs. This will be a 
significant advantage for further free software development, and some 
projects will decide to make software free in order to use these 
libraries. University projects can easily be influenced; nowadays, as 
companies begin to consider making software free, even some commercial 
projects can be influenced in this way."

Can't the same thing apply to maps? And if SA is too restrictive for 
produced works, why have SA at all? A watered down SA is the worse of 
all worlds IMHO, which is the ODbL. This has high complexity with few SA 

An (unofficial?) comment from LWG on this issue is here, basically 
saying ODbL is a compromise between various competing interests: 

> This does not in any way allow the conclusion that I would be unhappy 
> about losing the opportunity to write license enforcement letters about 
> produced works once we've made the switch.
Why are you enforcing terms you don't agree with? lol. Ok, so people 
might not respect a license that you don't agree with, but why care 
about fair play when the rules are wrong?


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