[OSM-legal-talk] Best-Practise to use OSM data in games

Thomas Trocha thomas.trocha at googlemail.com
Thu May 10 16:33:04 BST 2012

Thx for your reply and informative statements. Actually I thought the
data would have been released under ODbl since 1st April,... But I think
until any game would be ready to be released the new license will have
been activated. :D 

Btw, thx to Frederik for forwarding my posting from
help.openstreetmap.org to this much more appropriate place. Just to be
complete here his statement from the help-site:

Frederik Ramm:
"First off osm have not changed its license yet. It is still on CC

Copyright is the rights of a work after it is published, you and your
users can have data derrived from osm data unpublished without any
problems. That means that any data your users generate based on osm data
that is not published does not have to be under any license, and you are
not forced to publish it.

CC BY-SA and ODbL does not require you to hand out the data on request,
or in a human readable format. But the data you do release in whatever
for or to whomever you release it to have to be released under an open
license. But we do love it if you use an open format when you release

On Do, 2012-05-10 at 15:19 +0100, Jonathan Harley wrote:
> On 10/05/12 14:01, Frederik Ramm wrote:
> > I am re-posting this from 
> > http://help.openstreetmap.org/questions/12656/best-practise-to-use-osm-data-in-games. 
> > The original author is "dertom95".
> >
> >              -------------------------------
> >
> > Is there really a way to use osm-data in games that comply the odbl?
> >
> My replies below relate only to ODbL.
> (Under the current CC-BY-SA, the game itself would probably have to be 
> distributed as CC-BY-SA.)
> > I will try to play this through using the example of a "virtual" 
> > game:"Simcity OSM" and Mark questions with Qn:
> >
> > Let's say the game should use only street,river and rail-data and the 
> > task of the game would be to build up a new city based on the given 
> > osm-data.
> >
> > Workflow: 1) I build a converter that takes osm-data and produces the 
> > reduced data (filtering streets,rails,rivers and mapping to my own 
> > coordinate-system). Since this already is a derivate this data is 
> > under odbl again. There seems to be two options:
> >
> > a)provide the data as data-files
> >
> > b)provide the converter that produces the filtered data in 
> > readable-form (e.g. xml)
> >
> > Q1) Is that right understood? If choosing b) The game itself can use a 
> > proprietary version of that data?
> Yes. It doesn't even have to be human-readable, like XML; ODbL says 
> "machine readable". Binary is fine as long as there is information on 
> how a machine can read it.
> >
> > 2) The game reads the data as created by the converter, meaning that I 
> > have something like a "live-version" of my new odbl derivate. When I 
> > now build a house at coordinate x/y I would have changed the 
> > database-again, meaning this need to be provided somehow!?
> >
> > Q2) Creating this live "fantasy-data" still creates a derivate, right? 
> > So would a live-export-function be ok, sufficent or even not 
> > necessary? (Actually it sounds like a quite cool idea :D)
> >
> I think you're right that the "live data", including "fantasy data" 
> created by the user, is a derivative database, assuming the new fantasy 
> items are placed in locations that are influenced by the locations of 
> OSM features. But it's not necessary to provide a way of accessing it, 
> if that player's data is not published to anyone else.
> > Q3) If there would be this "live-data" option, would be providing the 
> > converter still be necessary?
> I think you would have to provide either the converter or the derived 
> database, because you're publishing it to players; but you can't 
> reasonably require someone to sign up as a player just to get your 
> derivative database. You have to make it available to anyone who asks, 
> player or not.
> If one player's data is published to other players, ie if it's a 
> multi-player game, then you would have to make that data available along 
> with your starting database.
> >
> >
> > 3) Of course inside the game it is mentioned (in the credits!?) that 
> > the data is a derivate of osm.
> >
> Yes, and make it clear that it's available under ODbL.
> > Conclusion: To be honest, while writing this, I don't see a problem 
> > anymore, as there wouldn't be a problem for me to provide something 
> > like "live-views" of the data. But it would be nice to hear some 
> > comments if I'm right, about the way to handle the data!?
> >
> Hope this helps. (I have some PHP programming that I'm avoiding, so it 
> was a welcome diversion to write this commentary.)
> Jonathan.

More information about the legal-talk mailing list