[OSM-legal-talk] Noise vs unanswered questions

Rob Myers rob at robmyers.org
Fri Sep 3 10:54:50 BST 2010

On 09/03/2010 10:03 AM, Simon Ward wrote:
> I don’t see much compromise happening from OSMF on the contributor
> terms.  There is a very small amount, but OSMF seems to want to stick as
> close to what they have, with no chance of what they consider a
> significant change.

If anyone can suggest a way of combining the ability to change the 
licence in future with increasingly not being able to do so as more and 
more contributors become uncontactable I'm sure a compromise can be 
found. ;-)

> The contributor terms are now the sticking point for many people against
> the ODbL+DbCL+CT combination, and these are not just people against a
> licence change from CC by-sa, but people who are in principle happy with
> the licence change.

This is a change that cannot be sugar-coated. It is needed in order to 
ensure that if future changes become necessary they can be made.

I'm sorry to be harsh but I think that concentrating on the risks of the 
new CTs rather than the risks they are meant to address shows a failure 
of perspective. I don't believe that a stoic or pollyannaish acceptance 
that the licence of OSM may gradually be rendered ineffective by change 
outside the project is morally superior to enabling the project to rise 
to future challenges.

The current licencing of OSM isn't perfect, that's why things are meant 
to be changing. Even if the ODbL is perfect when it is applied, it may 
not be in future. We cannot know, and yes that cuts both ways. But we 
can look at other projects and see that some of the largest and most 
successful have relicenced. And we can see that new threats to Free 
Software and Free culture keep arising. Free geodata is unlikely to be 
any different.

And if people are worried that future changes will not be to their 
liking they need to get involved in the process more actively.

> These contributor terms define a large part of how the future direction
> of OSM may be determined.

They define in large part that it *may* be determined.

- Rob.

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