[OSM-legal-talk] Attribution

Kai Krueger kakrueger at gmail.com
Mon Apr 28 21:34:38 UTC 2014

Jake Wasserman wrote
>> > or giving data back when you fix things.
> This is a gross oversimplification of share-alike. And the imperfections
> in
> the license extend beyond geocoding. I don't want to rehash the arguments,
> as Alex Barth did <http://stateofthemap.us/session/more-open/> very
> eloquently at State of the Map US. Let's just not pretend the requirements
> are "simple", "tiny", or "little", but are instead complex and sweeping.

I would say we can all agree on that for the majority of the community
"giving data back when you fix things" is the spirit of the share-a-like
license of OSM.

What makes this so complex and tedious is to write a legal document that
captures this simple spirit in all of the different jurisdictions and stands
up against teams of lawyers that put their entire intellectual resources
into twisting the words of the license into something that is legally
correct, but against the original spirit of the license.

However, if everyone who uses OSM data tries to honor this simple spirit as
much as possible, then they are likely not to get into trouble with the
community over licensing. With the OSMF now being the sole license holder,
rather than the individual mappers, it is also much less likely that some
"over zealous" mapper drags one into a license dispute just because they
don't like ones business model or company in general.

Sure, for companies relying on the (subjective) spirit rather than the
letter of the license is not particularly satisfactory, and so osm(f) can
and should do more to help define those edge cases more clearly and give
users peace of mind that the way they use the data is fine. But given how
many seem to be fine with violating the license as well as the spirit
outright, they should be OK with this more subjective "guarantee" that if
they "behave" they won't get into legal troubles with OSMF.

In that respect Steve's clear guidelines of how OSM(F) goes about dealing
with perceived license violations might help quite a bit. As it gives users
a clear indication of that they will get ample opportunity to respond and
react to cases where their (honest) interpretation of the spirit of the
license differs with the interpretation  of the OSMF.

Most disputes really should be possible to resolve in mutual agreement and
all that matters then is the spirit of the license and the legal technical
details should never really enter the picture. However, for those cases
where the data users can't respect those simple wishes, the legal framework
of the license still needs to be in place. 

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