[OSM-legal-talk] Granting special powers (was: I want my access back)

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Sat Aug 13 17:18:23 BST 2011

Simon, Florian,

Simon Ward wrote:
> On the one hand, I would like to continue to contribute to OpenStreetMap
> as a free geodata project; on the other, I want no part in any
> organisation, nor to support an organisation, that seeks to obtain
> special powers over anybody else.

If that is your only concern, I think it should be possible to devise an 
unilateral version of the CT where "OSMF" is basically replaced by "the 

I.e., you would not say "my data is PD", but you would say a bit more, 
basically everything the CT now contains, only that you would not (only) 
allow OSMF to redistribute your contributions, but *everyone* who so 
pleases. All the OSMF special rules in the CT (the 2/3 majority 
relicensing clause etc.) would be replaced by something more generic, 
e.g. "i allow anyone to use my data and relicence it under any license".

That would of course not change the situation in OSM, but as far as you 
personally are concerned, you would have granted no special powers 
whatsoever to OSMF. And because the "special declaration" would be 
carefully worded to be a superset of our CT, you could continue as a 
full contributor with all rights.

The problem with those who say "my data is PD" is currently, as has been 
pointed out, that this is actually *less* than the CT in some respect, 
e.g. where you explitcitly promise that to the best of your knowledge 
the data is compatible with OSM's license. If that were replaced by "I 
affirm that to the best of my knowledge I have not used any third-party 
sources other than PD sources", for example, then that would again be a 
more generic form that assures compatibility with any license.

My suggestion is that those who are in the situation that they would 
like to continue contributing to OSMF but feel they can't because they 
don't want to give anyone special powers, should draft such an 
unilateral declaration and publicly "sign" it. Ideally after talking to 
LWG and making sure that the declaration really is a superset of the CT 
and will be accepted in lieu of those.

I'd love to sign such a declaration myself but with the amount of Bing 
tracing I've done it would be difficult.


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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