[Osmf-talk] ODbL - and why I think we should use it

Milo van der Linden milo at dogodigi.net
Fri Dec 4 14:11:28 UTC 2009

Henk, I love the "Don't talk act" mentality!

I totally agree and can't wait to get "whatever" new license
implemented. I would say something like: if 51% of respondees from at
least 10% of registered community members votes for ODbL, do it!

That is completely satisfying for me.



On 12/04/2009 02:20 PM, Henk Hoff wrote:
> With all the other work I had to do, I couldn't keep up with the
> mailthreads about the new license. So here's my [amount] cents.
> I'm not going to repeat why CC-BY-SA is not the best license for us.
> Looking at the responses, most of us agree on the need to change the
> license to something else.
> At the SotM09 I've talked to a director of a commercial mapping
> company. He said that he liked the ODbL license but we should get rid
> of the share-alike clause. Then it would really be a good license,
> according to him. Yeah right! I that scenario this commercial company
> can use our data to make his data-set more accurate, and keep his
> improvements of the mapdata closed. I do not want my efforts to be
> reduced to free labor for commercial companies. That's even worse than
> slavery; they at least got housing and food. Even if that was at it's
> bare minimum or lowest possible quality. It's more than nothing.
> Everybody says we should be nice to each other and respect each other
> as they are. But with all those good intentions, we still are not able
> to achieve world-peace. The same with the discussion about license. If
> we were living in an ideal world, most of us (if not, all of us) would
> be in favor of Public Domain; were everybody can do everything with
> the data, no restrictions whatsoever. However, in the real world not
> everybody has the same sincere and honorable intentions that we want.
> It would be just plain naive (some people would use stronger
> qualifications) not to deal with that.
> That's why I want to have attribution and share-alike in our license.
> These elements will not prevent "friendly" people from using OSM data
> and at the same time gives us means to deal with the "unfriendly" ones.
> I know of several companies (not the mapping company mentioned above)
> that would like to use OSM data, but are hesitant because of the very
> vague boundaries of the SA clause in our current license. Result: they
> ended up buying data from TA, to be sure they wouldn't be sued for
> infringement of the license.
> Looking at ODbL: it's in spirit the same as CC-BY-SA, but without the
> problems (regarding factual data). That's how an IP lawyer in Italy
> described it. You won't get much guarantees of a lawyer (except of
> "I'll send you a bill"), that's an occupational deformation. That
> being said: I haven't heard of an IP lawyer who has stated that ODbL
> is not better than CC-BY-SA for factual databases.
> Also what I've heard is that the above companies that bought TA data
> are very likely to switch to OSM data when it's available under ODbL.
> Yes, I've talked with Frederick and others at the SotM09 about ways
> how the questions could be formulated. The main objective here (as I
> understood it) was to give people a way of also saying what they
> really wanted in a license. E.g. I'm ok with ODbL, but I really want
> it to be PD. 
> We've discussed this thoroughly within the LWG and came up with the
> survey: what elements of a license do you want to have for OSM
> (share-alike, attribution, commercial use, etc). By knowing that, you
> then can choose a license accordingly. That should be input for
> further discussion about licensing after we've made the choice for yes
> or no to ODbL over CC-BY-SA.
> The problem with a three-way answer (or even more answers), is that it
> is irrelevant. Soon, the membership will be asked if they agree with a
> change of license from CC-BY-SA to ODbL. If they agree, then the only
> relevant question we need to ask to all contributors: do you want to
> make you contributions available under this new license.
> To make it possible for members to make their preferences known, we're
> going to have a survey. The outcome can be used for future
> change-proposals.
> Again, the question now is: Is ODbL better than CC-BY-SA for OSM
> (looking at the "problems" we've addressed when starting this whole
> discussion about license-change years back). Every project manager
> knows that changing scope/principles during project is recipe for
> disaster. 
> Getting somewhere is best done step by step. Not one giant leap. Rome
> wasn't built in one day either.
> ODbL is in spirit the same as CC-BY-SA, but way better suitable for
> factual data like OSM. Let's take the first step in getting towards
> our ideal world and fix the problems we have with our current license.
> ODbL might not be unbreakable, but it's at least far more solid (for
> our purpose) than what we have now. 
> After this, setup a new list of challenges and get those fixed.
> Cheers,
> Henk
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