[OSM-legal-talk] Contributor Terms draft changes

Mike Collinson mike at ayeltd.biz
Sun Feb 14 19:33:25 GMT 2010

We are wanting to introduce dual-licensing for *new* registrants as soon as we have the new Contributor Terms nailed down. That means a final review of the current wording by legal counsel and then I'll ask for any last(?) comments from this list.

We've made some changes in order to try and address concerns raised late last year from OSM and OSMF members. Here is a version with recent changes highlighted in yellow:


Here is a summary of what we have done and why:

1) License violations - can someone sue on the basis of misuse of their data?  Our understanding from Counsel is: Yes.  OSMF can on the basis of collective/database rights. An individual contributor can if it concerns data that they added.  Board suggested that we deal with this via Community Guidelines ... for example, asking contributors to be courteous; setting up how and when the OSMF would expected to act; name and shame where possible; etc. We have therefore made no addition to the Contributor Terms, it is already long.

2) Third-party ODbL to ODbL conflict with the need to be able to potentially change the license over the coming years. I, for one, feel very strongly that we must have a mechanism to allow the OSM of the future to have the best free and open license they need, as long as it remains with the "free and open" boundary, however defined.  I recognise that this causes some incompatibility with importing other ODbL data. Our solution is :

a) Reduce the risk that some folks perceive of license change by increasing the amount of active contributors needed to change the license from 50% to 2/3;

b) Not make any major change to the Contributor Terms now but handle ODbL-based third-party data imports on a case by case basis;  

c) reconsider in one year;

d) Restrict the grant of license in the second paragraph to just the OSMF, (i.e. not the end users). Re-introduce the Database Contents License (DbCL) <http://www.opendatacommons.org/licenses/dbcl/1.0/>http://www.opendatacommons.org/licenses/dbcl/1.0/  to govern the relation between OSMF and end users.  We had wanted to incorporate this in the Contributor Terms for simplicity, but it actually complicates things. You will see that a lot of the wording is the same.

3) and a tiny plain language change to make it more obvious that an active contributor is a person not a bot by using the word "who".

License Working Group 
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