[Osmf-talk] my views on the ODbL

Mike Collinson mike at ayeltd.biz
Thu Dec 10 16:22:10 UTC 2009

At 04:03 PM 10/12/2009, Kai Krueger wrote:
>On 07/12/2009 09:09, James Livingston wrote:
>> On 07/12/2009, at 9:57 AM, Simon Ward wrote:
>>> If Openstreetmap�s
>>> evolution involves a licence change that most believe to be for the
>>> better, why should your data, agreed to be imported with rigid licensing
>>> conditions, win?
>> The data often doesn't have rigid licensing conditions, in the Australia cases it's CC-BY (not even with -SA), as the only condition is attribution "public domain" (or CC0 etc.) are probably the only less rigid options. The problem isn't that it's incompatible with OpenStreetMap's potential licensing choice (as I believe you would satisfy all the conditions of CC-BY when releasing as ODbL, having attribution) it's the Contributor Terms that cause the issue.
>> The contributor terms would let us re-license their data to any arbitrary licence, including one that doesn't require attribution.
>If CC-BY is indeed compatible with ODbL, which to me as a layman too 
>sounds like it should be, and the Australian data is CC-BY, can't this 
>whole issue be solved by altering the contributor terms slightly?
>Could clause 3 rather than say "or another free and open license; which 
>other free and open license is chosen by a vote of the OSMF membership 
>and approved by at least a majority vote of active contributors." say 
>something like "or another free and open license _with attribution_; 
>..." or what ever works legally and guarantees that the any license that 
>can be switched to be be compatible with CC-BY? At that point it seems 
>like anyone could sign the contributor terms for CC-BY licensed data and 
>we wouldn't loose or have to renegotiate the Australian data, which 
>would make everyone a lot happier.

Thanks for the suggestion. I think that would work, will look further at it. My intention with the current wording is to firmly prevent OSMF ever being hijacked commercially (if enough or all contributor's data must always be published with free and open license, what is the point?) but at the same time leave future generations (literally!) a reasonably free hand otherwise. So there is room for addition.

I certainly noticed that it is a common requirement for government organisations and NGOs to require an attribution for many datasets, so there are two potential existing mechanisms for this. 

First, http://www.osmfoundation.org/wiki/License/Contributor_Terms 4 still holds even if the license changes :-

4. At Your or the copyright holder�s option, OSMF agrees to attribute You or the copyright holder. A mechanism will be provided, currently a web page <http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Attribution>http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Attribution. 

This page is already up and running, and I would expect it to become more sophisticated over time. New Zealand's Department of Conservation is a good example.

Note that this says nothing about having to put attribution statements in the data itself, (we can put them there, but there is no guarantee they will stay there). It also says nothing about people using the data having to attribute specific sources in addition to "OSM Contributors". I would like to avoid that like the plague.

So, if the above is insufficient for an agency, the second option is to use a slightly revised set of Contributors Terms which suit the agency, as long as it is practical for us and the main provisions and thrust remains the same.  These can be applied to a specific user account used to import the data.  Our expectation is that clause 4 will generally be acceptable once it is pointed out that it is highly practical. Therefore the number of special cases will be small and can be handled by OSMF volunteers and, if necessary, OSMF counsel.

License Working Group

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