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

Jonathan Harley jon at spiffymap.net
Mon Mar 4 09:19:04 UTC 2013

On 02/03/13 16:17, Erik Johansson wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 1, 2013 at 11:39 AM, Jonathan Harley <jon at spiffymap.net> wrote:
>> So - *must* you make your database of user-sourced geodata available to the
>> OSM community? I answer no, so long as it resulted from a produced work and
> This feel very iffy, I thought this had been disproven already, I
> might be wrong, but that would mean that the ODBL is really totally
> useless. You have obviously given this much thought so I'm interested
> Map data copyright does not magically disappear just because you print
> it with a free map design. When doing methodical extraction of geo
> data, you are not copying the produced work, but the map data so it is
> still a copy of a copyrigthed database.

We did discuss this a few months back, and yes, OSM's copyright still 
exists in downstream produced works, as do the license conditions OSM 
mandates in the produced work, namely that it must include the attribution.

The ODbL definition of a produced work specifically includes images, and 
its definition of conveying the database specifically excludes produced 
works. In the discussion on legal-talk back in October, everyone seemed 
to agree that this means that produced works do not have to be licensed 
under ODbL. If they are not (and they usually aren't), then of course 
nothing derived from the produced work is either.

Personally, I think this does leave a loophole where you could reverse 
engineer OSM's data from imagery, but as I said at the time, I'm not 
worried about it because so much accuracy would be lost. In any case, 
Olov's use cases were not about reproducing OSM's data but about 
enhancing it, as far as I could tell.

ODbL has been carefully designed in such a way that conveying the 
database carries the share-alike requirement but using it only carries 
the attribution requirement. I don't think that makes it totally 
useless, but I wouldn't oppose closing the reverse-engineering loophole 
in a future version if there is one.


Dr Jonathan Harley   :    Managing Director    :   SpiffyMap Ltd

md at spiffymap.com      Phone: 0845 313 8457     www.spiffymap.com
The Venture Centre, Sir William Lyons Road, Coventry CV4 7EZ, UK

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