[OSM-legal-talk] ODbL and publishing source data

Jonathan Harley jon at spiffymap.net
Mon Nov 28 13:19:57 GMT 2011

On 28/11/11 11:55, 80n wrote:
> On Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 11:25 AM, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org 
> <mailto:frederik at remote.org>> wrote:
>     Yes, I agree it is difficult. I think that it is entirely possible
>     to arrive at an identical end product through different processes,
>     where one process has different license implications than the other.
>     For example:
>     I could render a map from OSM and then render something else on
>     top of it, say a commercially acquired set of hotel POIs. That
>     would clearly be a Produced Work; I could point anyone asking for
>     the source data to the planet file and the rendering rule, and
>     keep the hotel POIs to myself.
> This is an overlay on top of a Produced Work.  Whether it's produced 
> by layers at the browser end or by compositing two separate images 
> doesn't seem to be materially different.

I agree. Either it's separate data or it's not. Another example is by 
compositing two separate sources of data in a database, which is catered 
for in ODbL as a Collective Database. Frederik appears to believe that 
if you put your commercial dataset in the same database as some OSM 
data, then your commercial data becomes a derivative database and must 
be released for free. I disagree. If you used your commercial data to 
modify data that's already in OSM, such as correcting the names and 
locations of hotels and their access roads, then *that* would clearly be 
a derivative.

>     Same thing with your reply to my "pencil" example - depending on
>     how exactly you update your produced work, you might or might not
>     have to release a database.
> If this were to be possible then it would be a very undesirable flaw.  
> The intent of ODbL was to protect OSMs database and ensure 
> share-alike.  If it can be circumvented then it fails one of its main 
> purposes.

I'd say it's not so much a flaw, as a limitation of the approach; you 
can't govern non-database work such as artwork on top of a map with a 
database license.

I think ODbL protects share-alike just fine, to the extent that it's 
feasible to do so. The intent of ODbL was never to inhibit the use of 
OSM data in commercial environments by saying it can't be used in 
conjunction with any dataset which you can't make available for free. 
The intent, as you say, is to protect OSM (by attribution) and to make 
sure that any useful modification of OSM's own data is shared back, and 
I think it achieves this.

(IANAL but I have consulted one about ODbL.)

Jonathan Harley    :     Managing Director     :     SpiffyMap Ltd

Email: md at spiffymap.com   Phone: 0845 313 8457   www.spiffymap.com
Post: The Venture Centre, Sir William Lyons Road, Coventry CV4 7EZ

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