[Osmf-talk] CC-BY-SA "too strong" ?

Matija Nalis mnalis-openstreetmap-osmflist at voyager.hr
Fri Dec 11 23:29:25 UTC 2009

To Simon:

I'm a bit of a latecomer, so although I put a lot of effort to catch up
there is plenty I missed probably, sorry about that.
I was referring to amm's claim at 

If some conclusion was indeed reached, I'd be much obliged if you could
point me to it, thanks.

On Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 09:20:42AM +0100, Frederik Ramm wrote:
> Matija Nalis wrote:
>> Yet, it seems that wikipedia does not suffer from CC-BY-SA as it is claimed
>> OSM does. That is, the data from it regularily gets copied, and attributing
>> goes just to Wikipedia, not all individual contributors. Also the fact that
>> data from Wikipedia gets included does not seem to make all surrounding work
>> become CC-BY-SA.
> As I read it, CC-BY-SA does not require the copyright holder to be  
> attributed; instead, it *allows* the copyright holder to require  
> attribution, the content of which he may specify.

Yes, it looks so. The question that bothers me is if the copyright holder
has not given any specifics about attribution, does that mean that the 
"You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor" 
phrase means:

a) as copyright holder has not specified how to be attributed, he gave up on
   attribution clause (so the "BY" part of "CC-BY-SA" is null and void, and
   you do not need to attribute him/her at all), or

b) as copyright holder has not specified specific manner in which (s)he is
   to be attributed, you may choose how you will attribute them ("but not in
   any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work"),
   but you *have* to attribute them nonetheless.

> This means that you can publish a CC-BY-SA work and say: "please  
> attribute this to X".

Hm, yes, but there are hundreds of thousands of copyright holders on OSM
data, and any (or all, or anything in between) of them might require that
they be attributed, right ? As it is written, it might even be possible that
just one malign OSM contributor requires that you must specify all of the
contributors on all uses, and you would be forced to do it ?

> In their contributor terms, and indeed on every edit page, Wikipedia  
> makes you agree that a link back to the Wikipedia article is sufficient  
> attribution. (Actually it is a bit more complex still, see  
> http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Terms_of_Use.)

As OSM does not have such a term (I'm guessing, I'm not seeing it on signup
screen), does that mean that that no attribution at all is required, or that
you have to do some default attribution ? Or that you have to check with
each of the contributors and see what kind of attribution would they like,
before you're allowed to use the work ?

> OSM could do the same, but we'd have to put that in our own contributor  
> terms and it would only become valid for people signing up after that,  
> or we'd have to send everyone a notice to that effect and say "click  
> here to agree that in the future, a link to openstreetmap.org is  
> sufficient attribution for you" or so.

Such an change (requiring contacting and action on part of *all* contributors) 
would probably be as painful and as problematic as asking them to relicense 
(under ODbL or something else, whatever)

Opinions above are GNU-copylefted.

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