[OSM-legal-talk] Legal requirements of permissions to import into OSM

Svavar Kjarrval svavar at kjarrval.is
Fri Jul 24 16:06:38 UTC 2015


There are a few of us in Iceland who have been working on freeing
geodata so it can (potentially) be imported into OSM. The main problem
has been that we have little idea of what to tell the government
entities when they ask how they should proceed (in the legal aspect).
Most of the entities are small municipalities so they'd rather not spend
many resources in doing original work like finding a compatible licence,
researching what they must/should state in their permission or even
importing the data themselves. It'd be much easier (for them) if we
could propose a way for them to give us the data and they'd only need to
sign on the dotted line on the appropriate forms (or send us an e-mail,
if it's a valid method).

Of course we can guess what form of permission would be acceptable and
how it could be given, but we'd rather not have to return to the agency
and ask for any additional actions because our original guidelines were
insufficient (or even incorrect). There are no international copyright
licences we can point to since there are no such licences which have
been formally deemed acceptable to import under the CT. So the status
now is that we must get a specific permission to use the data for an
import into OSM.

OK, let's say the government entity would be willing to grant permission
to submit the data (or a derived version) specifically under the CT
(even if I'm wrong about no formally compatible licence currently
existing). What is the best way to ensure that is withstands any/most
legal challenges which would be likely to be brought up in the import
process? Can the permission be sent from an official e-mail address? If
not, is it an absolute requirement that it must be on paper? Should we
implicity trust that the official is within their right to grant us the
permission or must we go into some research to verify? What *must* the
permission say to be considered valid? Does the permission have to be
accompanied with the most recent version of the CT so there's no
question as to what is being agreed upon? If so, does the same apply to
the ODbL since it plays such a big role in what can be (currently) done
with the data?

I don't expect an answer to every one of these questions but I'd be
grateful if you could point me to any guidelines to minimise the risk of
giving incomplete or incorrect suggestions regarding the legal aspect to
potential data providers.

With regards,
Svavar Kjarrval

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