[OSM-legal-talk] Tenths of notes with street names

Vincent Veldman Vincent at veldman.me
Sun Sep 12 23:18:37 UTC 2021

Since this is "legal-talk" I'll restrict myself to just that and not to what I as mapper do or not.

strictly spoken such a data(set) is almost impossible to verify for legality of the data except by the person
who added the data.

It doesn't matter what we assume or think - the fact is the only thing that counts and that we don't know.

So the basic question is:"is this from a legal source?"

The safest way, as a radio moderator from the WDR Nordrhein-Westfalen once said:
"Assume everything is forbidden, nothing allowed until you got an explicit permission"

So I'd treat such information exactly like that.

As such, only the creator of the note(s) can answer this.

I would write the creator of these notes something along the lines of:

Dear contributor,

thank you very much for the notes and data you have uploaded to OSM. This would prove
a very valuable contribution to the OSM community.

To make use of this great additional data we'd like to have a few questions answered before we
can make use of this data.

1) would you be so kind to reveal us your source(s)?
2) Do we as OSM have legal permission to release this data under ODbL compliance?
3) Is your data already covered by existing permission listed under 


if either 2 or 3 are no - then would you please so kind to either acquire permission and/or
add this to the https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Contributors list.

Any failure to do so, as much as we'd like to use the data for OSM, would force us to reject the data
and close the comments as legally not applicable for OSM.

Kind regards for your contribution and understanding.

the OSM community.


That's my 5 cents to this contribution

 From:   Andy Townsend <ajt1047 at gmail.com> 
 To:   <legal-talk at openstreetmap.org> 
 Sent:   13/09/2021 4:47 
 Subject:   Re: [OSM-legal-talk] Tenths of notes with street names 

On 12/09/2021 21:13, Marco Rossi wrote:
> 1. Without surveying, can these notes be considered legally safe for
> upload into the database?

Unrelated to any legal issue, I'd never upload the results of a note 
straight into OSM - for a couple of reasons:

1) There are plenty of examples where a note might suggest one sort of 
object, but a survey would suggest another.  As an OSM mapper I'm going 
to be more familiar with OSM conventions than an anonymous note-adder.

2) People have been known to "try it on" with notes, add invalid ones, 
and claim afterwards "look how easy it is to add invalid data to OSM!".

> 2. Any ideas on how to proceed? DWG mass-delete, trust the notes straight away?

I'd start by commenting on one or more of the notes, thanking the 
anonymous user for their contribution and suggesting that they actually 
consider editing the OSM Database directly.  The sign-up process will 
tell them that they can't copy from Google Maps; you can also say that 
in a note comment as well if you want - but in the first instance I'd 
concentrate on trying to get them to sign up to OSM to update their town 
based on survey.

If it's clear that the information is from a non-compatible source then 
the DWG can hide notes so that they immediately disappear; if that isn't 
the case but they don't look useful anyone can resolve them - they'll 
turn green and then disappear from the map in a few days.

Best Regards,

Andy (from the DWG)

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