[OSM-legal-talk] Viral can be nice

TimSC mapping at sheerman-chase.org.uk
Thu Apr 22 10:08:50 BST 2010

Frederik Ramm wrote:
> >/ OSM is not essentially anything at its core. It is different things 
> to />/ different people.
> /
> I'm talking about the sentence that defines OSM at the top of our Wiki 
> page, which in all likelihood has been there in this form when most of 
> us signed up.
As if that that mission statement on the wiki is not open to revision? 
People may disagree with it, from within the project and try to change 
policies. We can see a parallel to political constitutions which tend to 
accumulate amendments. It is human nature to continue to rewrite and 
reinterpret values. Therefore, OSM is not essentially the mission 
statement or a "data project". What it is changes in time, as well as 
being different to different people. A more useful way of 
conceptualizing OSM, is to identify what we want to achieve and what 
steps we can take to achieve it. (My non-mapping hobby is philosophy. I 
am borrowing here from Karl Popper.)

> >/ 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. /
> You're over-simplifying when you say "commercial data". Even GNU FDL 
> data cannot be merged with CC-BY-SA. 
Well obviously there are other licenses that are not compatible with 
CC-BY-SA, but my point holds, at least for NC licenses: they are also 
too restrictive and that is as much a problem with that incompatible 
license as with CC-BY-SA. It is perhaps ironic that most or all SA type 
licenses don't inter-operate, which I guess shows the limitation of 
implementing SA.

> (a) all maps can be made, but sharing them is a the maker's discretion
> versus
> (b) only some maps can be made, but once they are made they will 
> always be shared
> I'd certainly find (a) to be more encouraging to creativity.
I tend to agree with your conclusion here, but my argument is driven as 
much by avoiding the legal complexity of (b), as creativity. I am 
actually pro-PD at this moment, despite my argument that ODbL is 
diverging from the intent of CC-BY-SA.

> >/ 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 />/ rights.
> /
> The share-alike element in data is stronger with ODbL than it was with 
> CC-BY-SA. 
I assume you mean it is "stronger" as in "enforceable"? Perhaps I am 
missing another area of strengthening. The intent of CC-BY-SA is all 
derived works are also SA. Otherwise, it seems ODbL is weaker - produced 
works are not share alike?

I agree with thread comments that it is the community that makes OSM 
work, not the license (although it is a small factor in attracting 
them). And SA confuses various potential users, like the flight 
simulators, from using our data (arguably ODbL is watered down SA to 
make this less of a "problem").

I guess the big question is do we want to prioritize innovation of 
mapping or do we want to create maps that most people will use? Only to 
some extent can we do both. The decisions on licensing is driven by the 
answer to that question, IMHO.


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