[OSM-legal-talk] Copyright Assignment

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Mon Jan 4 22:26:55 GMT 2010


Henk Hoff wrote:
> If there is a need to sue, we (the Foundation) will sue. Otherwise it 
> will work as a precedence towards other parties.

So the individual contributor allows OSMF to distribute his data under 
ODbL or another license they choose (within a well-defined range).

However the contributor agreement does not say anything like "in return, 
OSMF promises to take suitable steps to enforce the license".

This means that if the contributor is unhappy because he feels the 
license is violated, he has legal recourse against neither the violator 
nor OSMF. He can of course use OSMF-internal democratic means to 
convince the board to take action, but other than that he is powerless.

Should there perhaps be an element that allows the individual 
contributor to sue OSMF if he believes that they are not protecting the 
data as he thought they would?

To give an extreme example; assume that Fearsome Fred and his Karlsruhe 
Klique infiltrate OSMF and get to have a majority there. Fearsome Fred 
wants OSM to be public domain, however he knows that he will not be able 
to convince a majority of mappers to change the license as per the 
contributor agreement, so instead he makes the following public 
statement: "Folks, OSM is still ODbL by the letter but rest assured that 
you can simply use OSM as if it were PD, because I am OSMF and I am not 
going to sue you."

What can Enraged Etienne, who has single-handedly mapped half of England 
and who has, albeit grudgingly, trusted OSMF to protect his data under 
ODbL, do to stop Fearsome Fred?


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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