[OSM-legal-talk] Implementing the licence change

andrzej zaborowski balrogg at gmail.com
Thu Jan 19 22:09:19 GMT 2012

On 19 January 2012 21:48, ant <antofosm at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi,
> 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, ...)
> Sure.
>> 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.

To be safe you cannot make any decision based on what rights a
*single* instance of anything would have because the criteria will be
applied in bulk.  In practice you always have to consider what rights
a database of such references could be protected by.

Secondly it's known that in some instances in some countries
creativity is not required for copyright to work.  Thirdly in many
countries there are other intellectual property rights that could play
some roles.  So the criteria have to be based on where you can say
there's no content left from an incompatible edit, not whether it's
uncreative.  Or where something is part of a bulk edit that will be
trivial to recreate if it's lost.


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