[OSM-legal-talk] Are we strict enough with imports ?

Nic Roets nroets at gmail.com
Thu Feb 11 11:29:01 GMT 2010

* What ?? "Strict" and "OSM" in the same sentence ?? *

Recently on one of the talk lists, one user accused another of
importing TeleAtlas data bases on how closely the datasets fits each
other. A third user (Richard Weait?) speculated that their may have
been a common (e.g. government) source. Fortunately this was picked up
quite soon and if there was an infringement it was dealt with quite

But there are many imports and the work of checking the legalities is
really quite boring. My experience is that some of the users who
imported data used their discretion when it came to tagging and
documentation. So that discretion may have extended to the
interpretation of the legalities.

The longer an illegal import sits in the database, the more damage it
does: It takes more work to remove it, it may damage our credibility
and it may have removed the incentive for users to collect the
relevant data using a legal method, not to mention possible legal fees
or damages.

My suggestion is that we should have a fixed, but simple procedure for
users who import data:
(a) Setting the source tag to a unique value.
(b) A wiki page with the legal information, at a standardized
location, perhaps Tag:source=XX. If it was a verbal agreement, then
just names of the persons present. If it was from a webpage, copy and
paste the applicable license or terms and conditions.

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