[OSM-legal-talk] Implementing the licence change

ant antofosm at gmail.com
Thu Jan 19 20:48:39 GMT 2012


On 18.01.2012 23:49, Frederik Ramm wrote:
> 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

I didn't know about that list - I'll join it.

> 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
> document.

Thanks for clarifying the purpose of the What is clean page, because I
wasn't sure whether I was entitled to edit it, not being an LWG member.

>> 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?)
> Atomic.

So moving a way is not considered a modification of the way, but of the
individual nodes.
And changing a way's references from ABC to ACB is not a modification at
all, because no reference is created and no reference is removed. We
cannot say that there was a modification in regard to any of the references.

Next question, since according to your answers the approach is rather
fine-grained, one might ask if single words within tags are
copyrightable. What about roles of relation members, are they separated
from the members' references?

Above all, we must not forget to consider whether the creation or
modification of a single reference, a single role - i.e. anything we say
to be atomic - can possibly constitute a creative work.

>> 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 will certainly start remapping at some point. It's just that I don't
feel confident about it at the moment, because there are so many
unanswered questions.

> 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.

I'm not demanding. I just want to help raising the bar of certainty, in
order to prevent us from overseeing something.


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