[OSM-legal-talk] Review of IndianaMap as potential datasource

Luis Villa lvilla at wikimedia.org
Tue Apr 22 00:47:36 UTC 2014

On Sat, Apr 19, 2014 at 1:39 PM, Paul Norman <penorman at mac.com> wrote:

> If they want to release it under public domain they should just stick a
> CC0 or PDDL license on it. This would be far simpler than trying to figure
> out how a grant of rights to a third-party organization affects us, and
> would allow the use of the data by anyone, including Wikipedia, without any
> further work.

To be clear, I don't think going through OTRS makes a lot of sense in this
specific case. But let me explain what OTRS is (not a grant of rights to a
third-party!), and why an approach like OTRS's could be useful for OSM to
think about in the future.

OTRS's process is for *recording* a *public* license. If you submit
material to OTRS through the process, what you're doing is explicitly
stating, in a binding format, that you've agreed to publish the material
under a public license. (Usually CC BY-SA, but no reason it couldn't CC0 or
similar PD waiver.) It is not a grant to Wikimedia specifically. Our role
is to keep the paperwork, so that if someone changes their mind later we
can say "no, you made this grant; the grant was to the public, not just us;
and it was irrevocable".  Assuming a compatible license (like CC0) other
people/groups, like OSM, should be able to rely on the statement about the

This process tends to be used in the Wikipedia community primarily when
there is some concern that the rights grant might not be genuine or
well-understood. An example is when a celebrity wants to grant us rights to
use their picture. The celebrity may not understand what they are giving up
- that the license is to the public, global, irrevocable, etc. And they may
not have other public means (like a website with licensing information) to
make a binding promise through. So instead of them just saying off-the-cuff
"yeah, sure, do whatever you want", we get them on the record that they are
placing the picture under CC BY-SA. This protects both us and further
downstream users (which, again, could include OSM when the statement is
about a compatible license).

The reason this might be relevant for OSM is that a similar process might
be useful for governments and other big data donors. Ideally you want them
to make a clear promise to the world on their website - "the license for
data X is Y". But if for some reason they can't do that, there is a
difference between a low-level bureaucrat saying "yeah, sure, do whatever
you want" and the relevant bosses, lawyers, legislatures, etc. signing off
and really agreeing to ODBL/CC0/etc. in a binding manner that the OSM
community can rely on.

I thought OSM already had such a process, but I don't see any mention of it
in this thread, so I must be confusing it with something else.

Hope that helps-

> *From:* Mike Dupont [mailto:jamesmikedupont at googlemail.com]
> *Sent:* Saturday, April 19, 2014 1:10 PM
> *To:* Stephan Knauss
> *Cc:* Licensing and other legal discussions.
> *Subject:* Re: [OSM-legal-talk] Review of IndianaMap as potential
> datasource
> Oh i almost forgot. Well look, they could use the otrs for marking it as
> public domain. I am sure you can modify the otrs text to include a special
> text for osm as well.
> https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Email_templates
> so just add in the osm text as well as the creative commons. make it multi
> licensed.
> you might want to send them things about open public data initiatives :
> http://sunlightfoundation.com/opendataguidelines/
> http://project-open-data.github.io/
> http://wiki.civiccommons.org/Open_Data_Policy
>   mike
> On Sat, Apr 19, 2014 at 1:15 PM, Stephan Knauss <osm at stephans-server.de>
> wrote:
> If the data is creative commons we can't use it. We can't neither fulfill
> the attribution nor is it compatible with the contributor terms which
> allows changing the license.
> Stephan
> On April 19, 2014 5:19:54 PM CEST, Mike Dupont <
> jamesmikedupont at googlemail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Apr 18, 2014 at 8:00 PM, Richard Weait <richard at weait.com> wrote:
> Well no, Mike, I don't think so.  What rights a publisher grants to
> Wikipedia has nothing to do with what rights a publisher grants to
> OpenStreetMap.  Wikipedia has no ownership interest in OpenStreetMap,
> nor vice-versa.
> If wikipedia is granted rights, it is not exclusive, if the data is under
> a public domain or creative commons then osm can use it. There is no data
> on wikipedia except fair use pictures that cannot be used in osm.
> mike
> --
> James Michael DuPont
> Member of Free Libre Open Source Software Kosova http://www.flossk.org
> Saving Wikipedia(tm) articles from deletion
> http://SpeedyDeletion.wikia.com
> Mozilla Rep https://reps.mozilla.org/u/h4ck3rm1k3
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Luis Villa
Deputy General Counsel
Wikimedia Foundation
415.839.6885 ext. 6810

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