[OSM-legal-talk] Potential huge License violation - anyone know anything about this?
frederik at remote.org
Thu Jun 3 12:42:42 BST 2010
Oliver (skobbler) wrote:
> In addition we
> should put a sentence that they can make donation to OpenStreetMap and the
> community forgets about the mistake. Otherwise the OSMF might take further
> legal actions.
You mean as in
"Dear Mr President, I've got this photo showing you in bed with another
man, here's my bank account where you can make a donation, in which case
I will forget about it...
... unless I need more money later in which case I might again remember"?
Honestly, what you're suggesting smacks of blackmail. I do not doubt for
a second that it will work in some cases but I consider it morally
inacceptable, *especially* because every single contributor is entitled
to take legal action, so even if the accused paid up nobody in the world
can guarantee that he would not get sued, or get bad press.
(I'm not sure in how far this might change with the proposed license
change; if the license change puts OSMF in the sole position of being
able to sue then yes, OSMF could say they won't sue in exchange for
payment but I would still consider this questionable, not least because
it would mean that if they decline to pay we'd have to sue which I'd
like to avoid.)
> In cases where a company gains a financial advantage from a breach of
> license I think legal actions would be appropriate and should definitely be
> taken. I think this is important as many companies are already watching what
> happens in case of a severe violation to OSM data. If nothing happens many
> companies might take advantage...
I am very skeptical of legal action. If someone really takes the piss
then yes, perhaps, but it must never come to OSMF being a fundraising
machine for lawyers. Legal action can very quickly cost more than
everything else we do, and I would hate to be in a project whose main
activity, according to the balance books, is paying lawyers to sue people.
Legal action must be the exception, not the norm, and reserved for
really big cases. There is so much murky and questionable legal action
going on around copyright and maps, and it must never come to people
being fearful of using OSM because they fear the legal consequences of
Also, if we start threatening to sue people then we also need to set up
proper advice for users (if you follow these rules then we won't sue
you), and be prepared to answer questions ("I want to do X. Is that
allowed?") with something other than "Dunno, ask a lawyer, and we might
still sue you later".
Frederik Ramm ## eMail frederik at remote.org ## N49°00'09" E008°23'33"
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