[OSM-legal-talk] New site about the license change

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemed.net
Tue Nov 16 18:58:40 GMT 2010

Ed Avis wrote:
> I feel the same way but I come to different conclusions because of 
> different starting assumptions.

Sure. YMMV and no two people come at this with the same philosophy. My
strongly-held belief is that, just as it's generally accepted that to
discriminate against "fields of endeavour" with a non-commercial licence is
not "open" (e.g. see
the application of a creative works licence to a data project creates
similar discrimination against fields of endeavour: traditional 'creative
works' built on the data are required to be shared-alike, but other works
(including even data) aren't. My view is that an artistic cartographic map
using OSM data is as independent a creation as a routing application using
OSM data, and the same rules should apply to the cartographic art as to the
source code of the routing app. You don't have to agree. :)

> If the current licence can be trivially circumvented, people
> would be doing so by now and we'd see Google or Tele Atlas copying 
> the OSM data with impunity; yet there are no such examples.

Oh, there are plenty of infringements: yet another one whizzed by on #osm
today and no doubt there'll be another later this week. Those who have to
care about their PR (Google, Waze) will abide by the spirit of the licence,
albeit in retrospect; the cost of the negative PR outweighs the minimal
saving in geodata licensing. For some the equation balances the other way,
so they won't attribute or share-alike.

But I'm not really talking about infringements per se; I'm talking about
circumventing the spirit of CC-BY-SA within the letter of CC-BY-SA. The
"computer-generated derivative" previously discussed here and on
cc-community is the obvious example; you can avoid having to share if you
combine on the client rather than the server. (That could also be seen as a
discrimination against a field of endeavour: you can practically use the
loophole on computer cartography, but not on paper cartography.)

> As for PD, I'm not sure that the 'community consensus' on that has ever 
> really been measured.

Not formally, no. Certainly I based my decision to actively support a move
to ODbL rather than a move to PD (or attribution-only) on the grounds that
every time anyone even tentatively suggested the latter, the mailing list
storm was so vast that I could never see it being remotely realistic. Of
course, I hadn't realised that a storm would be provoked when anyone tried
to suggest _anything_. :(


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