[OSM-legal-talk] Copyright Assignment

Rob Myers rob at robmyers.org
Fri Jan 1 16:53:43 GMT 2010

On 01/01/10 16:15, Gervase Markham wrote:
> If the OSMF has the right to do "any act that is restricted by
> copyright" then they effectively have a joint copyright ownership.
> Except perhaps that they can't sue for copyright violation, although (as
> the article notes) that's not usually a big factor.

OSMF do not effectively have joint copyright ownership, what they have
is a remarkably broad non-exclusive copyright licence. They cannot
assert any rights against you as the co-holder of the copyright because
they are not and you are not co-holders of the copyright. You are the
sole copyright holder and licensor, they are one possible licensee.

It's important to be precise about this kind of thing because otherwise
people will draw incorrect inferences.

> If you read it, you will see that it discusses the effects on a
> community of having copyright assignment.

Which we all agree that OSM does not have...

"Copyright assignment" in this context means signing a form that says "I
hereby exclusively assign my copyright in work X to organization Y".
Like the FSF do for GNU. This is not like non-exclusively licencing your
work for OSM or Facebook.

> The article lists both pros and cons, and says there are fewer cons for
> a non-profit than for a commercial company. 
The moral panic around copyright assignment makes much less sense for
well-protected nonprofits, yes.
> I am not quoting it here
> because I agree with everything in it, or because it "supports my case"
> (whatever "my case" is). I'm putting it here because I think it's an
> interesting and relevant point of view.

But OSM does not require copyright assignment, so it is not *directly*

- Rob.

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