[OSM-legal-talk] seeking understanding of usage of geocoding and POI

Simon Poole simon at poole.ch
Fri Jun 10 22:37:30 UTC 2016

Am 10.06.2016 um 20:53 schrieb Karel Mikan:
> Dear all,
> we are a start-up working on a visit-planning tool and struggle
> whether our use of OSM triggers share-alike and to which extent. I
> read the licence, user cases, legal facts, trivial transformation, and
> much more, but am still not fully confident were we stand with our
> tool. I apologize for the long email and the many questions, but it is
> crucial for us to understand the impacts of using OSM. We are trying
> to find the right balance between ODbL licence, customer rights and
> business data confidentiality. I would highly appreciate any input on
> the below points.
> Starting Assumptions:
> - We are more than happy to give credit to OSM and to share the data
> that fit the OSM purpose, as it is a great tool and we would like to
> contribute back by using it. 
> - We would have legal issues if we were forced to share our customers'
> data in any way with anyone (even if they themselves publish something
> on-line through our tool). There is a very fine line, what counts as
> customer data and public data.

Frederik has already gone through your questions one by one. I just want
to focus on one point here that Frederik has already mentioned and which
is key in your scenario: if you are providing this as a service to your
customers and they are essentially in control of their data (and for
example not sharing it with other customers), you are not using the data
publicly and there is no obligation to share. If you or the customer use
the data publicly your privacy concerns seem to be for a larger part
moot. In the end, in such a scenario your obligations would, naturally,
depend exactly on what you or your customers want to use publicly.

What you will never be able to do is to derive data from OSM and by
complicated schemes "wash" away the licence.

To be clear (before we get the usual FUD): the ODbL never requires you
to disclose private data, break the law etc. If you are using OSM data
in a way that is incompatible with the licence you simply either have to
rectify that (which could for example be by not using the data publicly)
or stop using OSM data.

Simon Poole

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