[OSM-legal-talk] Using osm data + private data

Richard Weait richard at weait.com
Tue Jun 22 16:38:11 BST 2010

On Tue, Jun 22, 2010 at 7:36 AM, Michael musset <mickamusset at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi,
> i've done a long research about that, i asked to the irc community but it
> seems that not everybody have the same opinion about that.

IRC is a bit chaotic for this conversation when some participants are
missing some basic background information.

> So here i am,
> I would like to know if we can use osm data + private data for commercial
> use.

That depends on the details.  Commercial use is okay, as long as that
use is also compliant with the OSM license(s).  More details below.

> Example 1 :
> i've a osm map and i sell the service; that a company can see a car fleet on
> a map. Can i do that ?

Probably.  But it depends on how you implement it.  The details
matter.  Please see below.

> Example 2/ :
> i've a osm map on my own server, but because i've some private data and too
> dangerous for the company to publish it, i will never publish it to the
> community.
> But i sell a service to a company that i can track people in an industrial
> site.
> So can i do that ? because i will use the osm data + i've added my own data
> on that. And i will sell the service to be able to track the employees.

Again, this depends on the details.  Let's look in more detail.

Hi Michael,

Let's see if I can help.  Of course if you have real legal concerns,
you'll pay your lawyers for their best guess.  I believe that it is
much better for you to get some of this background and discussion with
the OSM community before you start your project and before you start
asking expensive questions of your lawyers.  I'm just an OSM community
member offering my perspective.  Others might pitch in with
clarifications and / or corrections.

For tile use from our servers.  We're entirely funded by donations. So
tile servers can be down at times.  We don't guarantee availability we
just do our best.  Also, please don't overuse our tile servers. Some
guidelines here:

If you find OSM useful or interesting you might consider sending us a
donation.  We're about to start a fund raising drive for some hardware
to help manage our growth.  We'd love to have your support.

Consider creating your own tile server.  That way you can provide your
own required service level and bandwidth, and take advantage of
customizing the tiles you display.

A number of common legal questions are answered here:
The key here is attribution.  Best bet is to include "Map and data
CCBYSA OpenStreetMap and Contributors" on each page showing a map in
your application.  The CCBYSA and OpenStreetMap should each be links
to http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ and

Also be aware of the current license upgrade for OpenStreetMap.  More
detail below.

And some guidelines on the derived vs collective boundary are here:

The collective / derived boundary is an area that really depends on
the details. Offering you a definitive answer is difficult.  In
general, if you are only
displaying OSM tiles as a background for your data, and your data is
collected separately, without referring to OSM data, then you are
creating a collective work and may license your portion of it as you
please.  The OSM portion remains CCBYSA and so you should include the
attribution above.

By comparison, if you are displaying OSM data and asking the user to
"click on the map in the location of the coffee shop" or in some other
way creating, or editing data with reference to the OSM data, then you
are creating a derivative work.  That entire derivative work must be
licensed CCBYSA.  Again the attribution above is required.

If your application is really, truly internal use only, you may find
that your Fair Use / Fair Dealing rights give you some flexibility.
>From your description, and from my understanding, your intended use of
offering these maps to clients as a product or service is not Fair Use
/ Fair Dealing, and so you would be obliged to comply with the OSM
License for both Attribution and Share Alike.  OSM doesn't trample on
Fair Use / Fair Dealing.  It is my understanding that Fair Use /Fair
Dealing does not apply in your situation as you have described it.

OSM and OSMF are in the midst of a license upgrade from CCBYSA to
ODbL.  ODbL is inspired by CCBYSA and written to anticipate issues
surrounding databases.  So once we transition to ODbL your obligations
will be similar but not identical.  One item you may find interesting
under the ODbL is that the Share Alike component applies not to the
derived work but to the data used to create the derived work.  So for
simplicity you'll want to either contribute your data to OpenStreetMap
in advance, or keep your data completely separate.

If I were attempting a project like yours, I might approach it this way:

1) Simple vehicle / asset tracking:
You wish to display the client assets on OpenStreetMap.  OpenStreetMap
shows all of the features that you need, other than the client asset
- acquire asset location from GPS device on the asset.
- plot those assets in an asset layer
- display OpenStreetMap layer underneath to show context

As long as you are generating your own OSM tiles, so your success does
not lead to scarcity of resources at OSM, this is an acceptable use.
You would be obliged to show the license and attribution details
described above.

2) Improved map and asset tracking:
As above in 1) but your client has a facility with several buildings
in DistantCity and those buildings, the parking lots and driveways are
not shown on OpenStreetMap.
- add the buildings, parking lots and driveways to OpenStreetMap.
- acquire asset location from GPS device on the asset.
- plot those assets in an asset layer
- display OpenStreetMap layer underneath to show context

The client location details in DistantCity can be marked as
access=private, and security details like barrier=gate and
barrier=fence can be added if you like.  You should add this data by
following the guidelines and practices of any other OSM contributor.
You'll be improving OSM data by adding details to the map.

3) Improved map, with client secrets and asset tracking:
As above in 2) but your client has a facility has building numbers
that are public, as well as building names that the client holds as a
company secret.
- add the buildings, parking lots and driveways to OpenStreetMap.
- add the public building numbers to OpenStreetMap
- create a company-private layer with the building names
- acquire asset location from GPS device on the asset.
- plot those assets in an asset layer
- display OpenStreetMap layer underneath to show context
- display the private name layer

The use of a private layer of data that relates to objects in the OSM
database is not a settled matter.  It could be argued that "OSM cares
about building names; you should put the building names in OSM".  On
the other hand you could argue that the private building names are
separate metadata.  See the discussion on this topic here.


So there you go.  From my perspective, approach number 2) above gives
you a good service to offer your clients in compliance with the
OpenStreetMap licenses.  It also allows you to contribute to OSM.

I've not addressed your obligations to parties other than
OpenStreetMap in this email.  If you were to combine additional data
in a collective work, perhaps weather data on a separate weather
layer, you would have to comply with the terms under which that data
was supplied to you as well.  And as mentioned in another reply to
this thread, if you are tracking employees you'll have to check the
local regulations regarding that.

I hope that this email is helpful for you.  If you can provide any
details of your intended use, I'll be pleased to have another look.
And I'm sure that others will pitch in and help if I've misstated or
misunderstood something.

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