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

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemed.net
Thu Jun 3 09:10:59 BST 2010

A few thoughts. (I spotted this book when it first came out and talked to a
few OSM people about it at the time. A copy, can't remember whose, was being
passed around at the London hack day.)

1. It is clearly an infringement of the attribution requirements in that the
CC-BY-SA licence isn't mentioned. I'm unsure as to whether the overriding
(c) New Holland claim is actually an infringement or just clueless - there's
no law against writing wrong things in books, e.g. "the capital of France is

2. The text is not a derivative work. The maps will have been produced by
reference to the text, not the other way round. The text was written by the
author of the book, the maps produced by a freelance.

3. At the time the book was published, OSM's front-page copyright statement
was a really obscure black-and-white PNG logo that didn't mean much if (like
99% of normal people) you're not au fait with the whole free/open
culture/source/data malarkey. Clicking on this took you to a page hosted on
someone else's website with no connection back to OSM. For a more useful
guide you had to click on "Help and Wiki" and search through 8 zillion

This doesn't excuse, of course, but I think it partly explains. As a result
of this, Nike, and similar cases, I wrote
http://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright, LWG gave it the once-over and Tom
deployed it. It is clearly linked with the text "Copyright & License" and
provides a simple how-to for using OSM maps and data. It also begins to put
our own house in order re: attribution. I would feel uneasy going after
someone when we had not made our requirements particularly clear - which we
have now done.

4. The maps are pretty crap, really. Just lines superimposed on a standard
Mapnik rendering. There's a great opportunity for someone there. ;)


Phil Monger wrote:
> Frederick,
> I appreciate your view on this. but I must passionately disagree.
> "Collected works" is set up to allow multiple sets of data / licenses to
> operate together under one "bound" work. For example, a book of collected
> maps about London could include OSM as CC-BY-SA but in itself, as a
> collection, remain (C) , and allow other maps to be (C) or other.
> This is entirely derivative. The maps and route descriptions operate
> together as *one piece of work* - indeed descriptions of the ways, place
> names, distances, directions (ect) used in *the text* are taken from *the
> mapping*. The text couldn't / wouldn't be there without the mapping,
> leaving
> the entire thing as one piece of work, regardless of the fact the maps are
> images, and the words are words.
> You wouldn't take 12 songs under CC-By-SA, wrap them together in an album,
> add cover art, add liner notes, change a couple of words in the songs, and
> then be able to claim the entire CD is your copyright.
> I don't think New Holland posting a message on a forum saying "Oh, gosh,
> is
> that wrong? We won't do it again.." is a good enough answer. I can cite
> examples of books and magasines getting into a LOT of mess for incorrectly
> attributing stock images, so how should an entire book, written around the
> premise that the maps are "free" be exempt from this license?
> Surely .. SURELY the whole point of a CC-BY-SA license in the first place
> is
> to *stop* someone taking it and using it in a proprietary media, and
> instead
> encouraging people to "give something back" by making their re-use
> re-useable? Or am I just tilting at windmills?
> Phil
> On 2 June 2010 21:58, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:
>> Phil,
>> 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
>> http://compton.nu/2010/05/how-not-to-credit-openstreetmap/
>> 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
>> shared.
>> 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.
>> Bye
>> Frederik
>> --
>> Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"
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