[OSM-legal-talk] Are CT contributors are in breach of the CC-BY-SA license?

Kai Krueger kakrueger at gmail.com
Mon Apr 18 16:42:21 BST 2011

Richard Weait wrote:
> The OpenStreetMap database is currently available as CC-By-SA.  Users
> are indicating their willingness to relicense their contributions, or
> not, under ODbL.  Current edits are CC-By-SA.  The OSM db is currently
> CC-By-SA, only.

I am not sure that gets to the point 80n was trying to make. My
understanding of the argument is the following:

As you say, OSM is currently CC-BY-SA only. Therefore, any data you download
from OSM, e.g. the data you download into josm,  is CC-BY-SA only. CC-BY-SA
does not allow you to sublicense and requires derivatives to be CC-BY-SA.
Once you accept the CT, you state that for all uploads (both future and
past) you make to OSM you "grant to OSMF a worldwide, royalty-free,
non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable licence to do any act that is
restricted by copyright, database right or any related right over anything
within the Contents". CC-BY-SA does not give you the right to do the _any
act that is restricted by copyright_ part. So you are not allowed to upload
the data under the CTs. What OSMF then does with those uploads, whether it
distributes them under CC-BY-SA, ODbL or any other license of its choosing
is irrelevant, as you (the mapper) weren't allowed to contribute the data
under the CTs in the first place.

As OSMF is not the licensor under the current model, but the individual
mappers, you are also not uploading the data back to the original author,
but an independent third party (OSMF).

I am not going to judge the validity of the argument and leave that up to
the lawyers.


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