[OSM-legal-talk] Potential huge License violation - anyone know anything about this?

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Wed Jun 2 21:58:26 BST 2010


Phil Monger wrote:
> It's a new cycle book for London, with routes, etc. Pretty standard 
> fare. The problem? All the maps inside are blatant OSM copies (Mapnik, I 
> assume) with route overlays posted. Now this wouldn't be a problem, 
> obviously, except they are way WAY outside of CC-BY-SA.

A general rule of thumb is, try not to get over-excited about these 
things. In most cases they really happen out of negligence.

> None of the maps have *any* accreditation back to OSM on them. The only 
> place OSM is mentioned it on the very last page, very last line, where 
> it says "All other maps by Steve Dew using base maps by OpenStreetMap"

... which is already better than other uses we've seen.

I think the already-quoted approach by TomH


was very sensible, and calm, and worked well. In the long run we might 
even have a fleshed-out data working group (i.e. more than the odd bunch 
of already-overworked people we currently are) to take on such cases, 
like Steve suggested in his latest comment.

Interestingly, if you read the comment section of Tom's post, there's a 
comment by one John Gilmore who is of the opinion that a book using some 
CC-BY-SA maps must be completely CC-BY-SA, an idea which I do not share 
- I think the book is a collected work where only the maps have to be 

The OSM book that I have written has a lot of maps as well, and they are 
not always individually credited; but somewhere in the first few pages 
where it says that all this is copyrighted and you'll get shot if you 
disobey, I added an extra passage saying "This does not apply to the 
maps in this book which are from OpenStreetMap and licensed CC-BY-SA".

> Ironically, it doesn't list OSM or OCM as "useful resources" for 
> cyclists ... I wonder why?

This is really strange. I mean if OSM was useful enough to create the 
maps from...

> I assume this hasn't been cleared and 'waived' by someone at OSM? Where 
> can we go from here?

The only people who could "clear" something in that way, at least for 
now, is the community of all individuals who have contributed to these maps.

> I have an urge to go start flogging scanned copies and claim .. "but 
> surely as a derivative work this is also a work released under 
> CC-BY-SA?" if that's what it takes to stop corporations like New Holland 
> from pilfering work like this.

As I said, I would be quite cross if someone were to distribute scanned 
copies of my book because I don't believe that depicting OSM maps in it 
makes the whole thing derived.

But it is an interesting question - if someone violates CC-BY-SA by 
taking OSM data and releasing it under his copyright, and you then 
violate his license by simply taking the stuff and distributing it 
CC-BY-SA, can he sue you? Can you be jailed for stealing from a thief? 
Probably depends on jurisdiction.


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

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