[OSM-legal-talk] The Copyright of Split Ways

FK270673 at fantasymail.de FK270673 at fantasymail.de
Sat Jan 28 22:08:02 GMT 2012

Thank you very much for the wise decision to postpone the license change until all open problems are solved.

We cannot rebuild the database NOW because it contains a lot of data which is even incompatible to the current CC license:
- imports without proper attribution
- split and merged ways

- anonymous edits by well-known acceptors get deleted as there is no opportunity to reclaim an anonymous edit (e.g. Changeset 57115 by Deelkar) 
- legal imports (e.g. CORINE) get deleted because the importer has not signed the CT
- contributions from acceptors get deleted because they were split by a decliner

Just let me give one example:

This way was created by ME on May 11th, 2009. This way was split by another user on Sep 12th, 2009 without adding any features.

You can find the original creator of this way by looking at the second-oldest node (the oldest node might be an intersection with a collector road):

Looking at the second-oldest node, you can see that this way was created with Changeset 1157065 by me, not with Changeset 2459897 by him:

If you WERE interested in respecting moral rights of the original creator (even if he has already agreed), you would have to attribute v1 of this way to ME. Generally, I don't insist on copyright stuff, but if you give OTHER users a veto right to decide about MY contributions, I am finally getting angry.

- if the second-oldest node of a way is older than the way itself, the way probably was split. Its v1 belongs to the changeset where the second-oldest node was created.
- if the second-oldest node of a way is younger than the way itself, the way was probably re-created by other mappers and cannot be considered "property" of the v1 mapper. Thus, it would make sense to assign copyright ownership to the v3 mapper (who has contributed the second-oldest node).

Let's look at this way, a classical edge case:

All 10 actual nodes have been edited by me on Apr 27th, 2011 (and all the surrounding houses as well). v11 from changeset 7982237 is the version from which the actual geometry is derived. All other versions have no influence on the actual geometry, so we could create a new object with v11 as v1. 

What about the tags? If tags were protected by copyright, nobody would be allowed to draw a new road with the same tags. If tags are not protected by copyright, we may assess license status ignoring the first 10 versions.

However, it would be polite to mention other editors with a new tag like "former_editors=mallok, FK270673, Kowa" in order to indicate that they have no copyright in actual way geometry. We are free to thank them for their early contributions, but we are not forced to allow them a veto on other people's later contributions.

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