[OSM-legal-talk] Implementing the licence change

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Wed Jan 18 22:49:27 GMT 2012


On 01/18/2012 06:13 PM, ant wrote:
> As far as I can see the details of the implementation of the licence
> change, i.e. of what is actually going to happen on April 1st, are not
> known - or at least not revealed. Correct me if I am wrong.

They are not known. A mailing list has been created (the "rebuild" list) 
to discuss how exactly the database rebuild is going to happen, and in 
terms of policy, LWG will have the ultimate decision. And they are 
asking for out input via the "What is clean page".

That page is not, and was not intended to be, a "binding document" - it 
might become one later.

I assume that LWG will certainly value your help in improving that 

> IANAL. But I like to approach problems in a systematical manner. For
> example, I recently asked myself the question, „What is a copyrightable
> object in OSM?“. I think this is a fundamental question to answer if you
> discuss licence topics.

It has often been said that computer geeks, of which I presume you are 
one, are not well suited to perform legal analyis. The lawyer's answer to

> Is a node copyrightable?

will almost certainly be "it depends". (On country, circumstances, ...)

In OSM, our current answers are:

Yes, we treat a node as copyrightable;

> If yes, what's copyrightable about it?

Its position and tags, unless the tags have been created automatically.

> What's copyrightable about a way?

The sequence of its nodes and its tags.

> Is the list of references to nodes copyrightable separately from the
> way's tags?

Every single tag and every single node reference are a treated as 
copyrightable by us.

> Are references to nodes atomic? (I.e. Is a single reference
> copyrightable? Or is only the list as a whole?)


As I said, this is just our current working assumption, not something 
set in stone.

> All in all I think that the approach to the whole thing so far has been
> too pragmatic, just like identifying edge cases and modeling something
> around it. Of course, this might somehow work and the result might even
> be satisfying, but to me it doesn't seem appropriate in a legally
> significant matter like this.

It is possible that the approach only *seems* too pragmatic to you. I'm 
not with LWG but I would assume that they would welcome you into their 
weekly telephone sessions if you want.

> Considering that neither the definitions of what is clean and what is
> tainted nor the technical details of the implementation have yet been
> finalized, it seems unreasonable for me to remap.

Thankfully, few other people think like you do. There may be edge cases, 
but I guess that whichever way these edge cases are decided, a 
significant portion of what is now considered tainted will always be 
tainted. And that stuff should be remapped *now*.

> I don't want to
> discover later that I have done unnecessary work.

Your call. I'd rather re-map a few items too many than fix the holes in 
my street in April.

> Besides, current
> remapping practice is completely based on the available inspection tools
> that implement - more or less precisely - a taintedness policy that is
> still in draft status. For this reason I also refuse to use the
> odbl=clean tag.

The odbl=clean tag is a kludge for difficult cases anyway. If you bring 
an object into a state that does not have any of the properties added by 
a decliner, that is sufficient to make it clean automatically.

> Now I could elaborate a lot more. But the purpose of my post actually is
> to start a discussion, and I am asking you. Me too wants the licence
> change to be a success. So let's go.

It's ok to discuss these things, but the approach "I won't move a finger 
until I am told *exactly* what the rules are" is not helpful. The rules 
might *never* be final - even when we do the rebuild according to the 
then-believed-final rules, it could happen that someone later points out 
an oversight, or a court decides something, forcing us to remove things 
we thought we could keep or vice versa. You can only ever go up to 80% 
certainty in these matters. Demanding more is not realistic.


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

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