[OSM-legal-talk] Which legislation applies: server or data location?

Fernando Trebien fernando.trebien at gmail.com
Tue Aug 27 23:31:48 UTC 2013

Well, in this particular case, it is a bit complicated. Some of the
data (though we can't tell which part of it) might have been traced
over Google imagery, and Brazilian law might be more lenient as was
the case of several US court cases
(http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Derivative_works#Maps). I
fear that delving into subtle legal interpretations here doesn't help
us anyway since it would be illegal in the UK to provide any data
derived from Google's services, regardless of the location the data
refers to.

Brazil already has another "open" maps project called TrackSource
(released under a CC-BY-SA license) and some people in that project
have shown interest in contributing to OSM their own data, which was
collected and refined over almost a decade. We know that we can't take
the official "released" maps, but the contributors (which own their
own data) are willing to upload their unlicensed data. That would be
legal except for the fact that their community actively encouraged
tracing using Google Earth (there are several records of that on the
Internet). A considerable part of that data, however, was also mixed
with personally collected tracklogs, some of it using very advanced
survey techniques, but it is impossible to tell which data elements
came from which source using their (rudimentary?) tools and database
formats. In other words, they've never really worried about these
licensing issues.

Even though we are telling them to contribute only the data they are
sure to be unrelated to Google, we're simply not sure if they are
following our advice. Some have already started thinking of ways to
automatically detect imports from TrackSource maps and report the
changesets to OSMF for a mass reversal. Meanwhile I'm trying to
prevent the TrackSource folks from losing interest in OSM.

On Tue, Aug 27, 2013 at 8:02 PM, Paul Norman <penorman at mac.com> wrote:
>> From: Simon Poole [mailto:simon at poole.ch]
>> Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 1:24 AM
>> Subject: Re: [OSM-legal-talk] Which legislation applies: server or data
>> location?
>> Ian has already given a good answer. So just a couple of further notes:
> Some more notes, from a slightly different perspective
> - The UK has as strong or stronger IP protection for map data than other
> countries, rendering the question moot most of the time.
> - As this question originated with an import, any such questions *should* be
> raised in the import proposal. My guess is that the DWG would tell the user
> to not import until they get clearance from the LWG.
> - What OSM does is flat out illegal in some places (North Korea being the
> typical example, but not the only one). I don't think anyone is particularly
> concerned, although contributors in such countries may be. Similarly,
> distributing non-official boundaries may be a problem, and it's impossible
> to satisfy countries on both sides of some boundaries at the same time.
> - When dealing with government data, the concerns have mainly been if it is
> legal in that country. Local governments near me will not license database
> rights because no such concept exists to them.
> I had more, but paused and forgot it.
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Fernando Trebien
+55 (51) 9962-5409

"The speed of computer chips doubles every 18 months." (Moore's law)
"The speed of software halves every 18 months." (Gates' law)

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