[OSM-legal-talk] Refusing CT but declaring contributions as PD

andrzej zaborowski balrogg at gmail.com
Wed Aug 24 17:00:21 BST 2011

On 24 August 2011 16:35, Richard Weait <richard at weait.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 9:52 AM, Richard Fairhurst <richard at systemed.net> wrote:
>> I'm a little puzzled by this. "Asserting that one's contributions are in
>> the public domain" is saying, in the words of the disclaimer used on
>> Wikipedia and on the OSM wiki, "I grant anyone the right to use my
>> contributions for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such
>> conditions are required by law".
>> Therefore I don't see any reason why the data cannot be included in OSM.
>> The contributor has given a grant of all rights - not just copyright, but
>> any database right or indeed other right that might exist. There is no
>> difference between (say) TimSC's PD data and the TIGER PD data, but we're
>> not requiring the US Census Bureau to sign the terms.[1]
>> The minute says "Their 'PD' position contradicts the explicit decline",
>> which seems to me to be true legally but not "politically". There are
>> people who do not wish to enter into a formal agreement with OSMF, and
>> though I think they're mistaken, they doubtless have their own reasons.
> When considering usernames that have 1) made a PD assertion and 2)
> explicitly declined CT/ODbL, there is a conflict in their expressed
> intent.

I guess what RichardF is saying is when you sign something it's not
only expressing intent but also an acceptance of the mechanism, the
way it is implemented, sort of.  So there certainly needs not be any

>  The explicit accept / decline mechanism of the CT/ODbL is the
> mechanism provided and used by the vast majority of the OSM community.
> To accept their ad-hoc PD declaration may require a substantial
> investment of resources to 1) determine if their jurisdiction permits
> such a PD declaration,

The declaration is only valid "to the extent permitted by law" (as
Frederik said), but other than that it should be valid everywhere.
I'm not even sure if the jurisdiction of the mapper is important
rather than where the data is published.

> 2) decide if that PD declaration is likely to
> over-ride their explicit decline via the community-accepted mechanism.
>> What am I missing? What exactly is meant by "the collective data in the
>> OSM database"?
> OSMF have permission to publish data as CC-By-SA, and in future from
> most contributors as ODbL.  OSMF have no permission to publish data as
> PD at this time.  TIGER PD data came from PD TIGER data sources.  If
> the usernames in question have a PD source for the data that they
> assert is PD, we might use that as a source for OSM.  If that data is
> only in OSM, it isn't PD; it is CC-By-SA.  It can be promoted to ODbL
> by way of accepting CT/ODbL.

This is a different topic but last I heard the CT don't assure
everything you upload is ODbL compatible, but rather than "your
contribution" is compatible with all the licenses that may be chosen
by OSMF -- and that everything you uploaded is as far as you know
compatible with the current license, i.e. CC-By-SA.

And surely the PD checkbox also only regards "your contribution", but
there's no statement regarding the sources you may have used.

(A side note is that you saying this makes it clearer that the CT is
so complex/fuzzy that even the authors hardly understand everything
that the text really implies)


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