[Osmf-talk] my views on the ODbL

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Sat Dec 5 22:26:13 UTC 2009


Elizabeth Dodd wrote:
> From an Australian point of view, the government data we have imported is CC-
> by-SA. We have no leverage to try to alter this. Getting the data at was a 
> major concession.

As far as I understand, the Licensing Working Group has it on their 
agenda to single out the largest "data donors" and talk to them 
one-on-one, or find people in the relevant countries who can be trusted 
with that. Are you positive that your government cannot be convinced?

At some point it was planned to do that *before* actually starting a 
vote, e.g. show them the planned license and ask them whether they think 
this could work for them.

If your data import source is indeed this big then I should think that 
the .au government certainly is on the list of big contributors to be 

At some point (sorry for being so vague, I remember having read this in 
a document but that's a while ago and I have no clue about current 
plans) it was also planned to find out the names of the biggest 
contributors and talk to them personally, in order to get them on board 
early and thus have a better standing in the relevant country ("look, 
the following OSM bigwigs in your country have already signed up so it 
can't be too bad").

> This imported data is huge and has added vast quantities to our database.
> My own data covers an area about 500km square where my husband and I have been 
> almost sole surveyors. That will literally be disappearing towns and villages 
> if that data is not relicenced.

> The proposed licence is not a benefit to Australians in my view.

Now this is completely unofficial and "my 0.02 AUS$ only", but firstly, 
the vote among OSMF members does not mean that things are going to be 
rushed through afterwards. I don't think the work of the OSMF LWG is 
done when the vote is through (assuming for a moment that a majority of 
members say yes). Where this has not yet happened, I fully expect talks 
with data donors or big contributors to take place.

This *might* lead to a change in plans. It *might* happen that the LWG 
is forced to reconsider one aspect or another after seeing that big 
donors cannot be convinced; and they can always come back to us, the 
members, with a changed proposal.

If the situation in .au is really as dire as you say, then there are 
many things that can be done about this. For example, we could decide to 
simply split our database, and retain the Aussie data under CC-BY-SA on 
a different server. This would mean some complications for people 
editing everywhere, and would make life a bit harder for renderers [*], 
but for those who are only concerned with Australia anyway, they'd just 
switch over to that server. This wouldn't have to be a permanent split; 
we could still work towards integrating Aussie data back into the mother 
ship at a later time, when problems have been resolved, perhaps after 
getting some .au lawyers on board and doing an ODbL 2.0 that works 
better for you.

(The reason why we want to move away from CC-BY-SA is that it doesn't 
work for us. If there is a country where lawyers assure us that CC-BY-SA 
works for Geodata there, then the move away from CC-BY-SA may become 
less urgent.)

Another possibility is moving to ODbL and leaving non-relicenced .au 
government data in a separate database from where it is only retrieved 
for rendering. If/when such data is resurveyed by OSMers, it can be 
removed from that old database.


[*] But who would not invest some extra work to avoid lots of blank 
spots on the map?

Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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