[OSM-legal-talk] License question, user clicking on map

Alex Barth alex at mapbox.com
Fri Mar 1 15:36:48 UTC 2013

On Fri, Mar 1, 2013 at 12:16 AM, Paul Norman <penorman at mac.com> wrote:

> The fact that you can’t mix OSM + proprietary data and then distribute it
> as some kind of “OSM but better” without releasing the proprietary data is
> a feature of share-alike licenses, not a bug.

Not every feature is a good feature, just like in software. There are
features that are just a bad idea. In this case, the share alike feature
protects us from something that just won't hurt OSM anyway, in fact it
would help OSM.

Someone goes mixes OSM with proprietary data, sells the result? Awesome!
This is exactly what's going on today with tiles, no? If the individual,
company or organization who sells improved OSM data does not give back into
the OSM ecosystem by creating better tools or contributing unencumbered
data, they're just plain dumb.

Open source or open data is not something you're forced to do, you're doing
it because you're smart.

There is further a false premise that most potential data users who have to
weigh opening non-OSM data they're mixing in somehow have a choice. They
more likely don't and hence we lose them as contributors entirely.


- they more likely just don't own the data they'd like to mix with OSM
- they more likely work in a bureaucratic organization where opening data
is just a multi year endeavour

What we wind up with is a well intentioned share alike clause that keeps
people away rather than help grow the open geo data space.

It comes down to this:

incentive to contribute by opening OSM data to any uses >> incentive to
contribute through retaining share-alike

The public domain argument is a bit of a red herring. If OSM used a PD-like
> license like PDDL or CC0 then we would be unable to make use of most of the
> external sources that we use, having to drop at a bare minimum 40% of the
> ways in the DB, and likely much more.

Interesting, can you expand on this a little more? Like for instance what's
a good example of a current external source or two effectively requiring us
to have a share-alike license?
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