[Osmf-talk] Contributor Agreement is Dual Licensing (was: Re: my views on the ODbL)

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Sat Dec 12 19:11:16 UTC 2009


Gervase Markham wrote:
>> In effect, the ODbL and the Contributor Terms is a sort of
>> dual-licensing. The ODbL is one licence, and "let us relicense it later
>> if we want" (I summarise for simplicity) in the Contributor Terms is a
>> second licence, external to the ODbL. And so we hit this dual licensing
>> problem.
> I still maintain that this issue is an important one. Has any member of 
> the LWG addressed this issue, either on the mailing list or the wiki?#

Not that I am aware of.

RichardF's proposed solution was to put a time limit into the 
contributor agreement (change of license only possible at or before date 
X). My gut feeling is that not much is won by that; either the date lies 
too far in the future to have any effect on people's decision now, or 
the date is so close that it is unlikely for us to encounter major 
license stepping stones before that date so it's not worth the hassle.

Another solution could be to introduce a special class of accounts which 
have not signed the contributor agreement. Data contributed by those 
accounts would be part of OSM data just like anything else, but would be 
at risk of being removed in a possible future license change. Accounts 
of this class would have to be requested individually from OSMF, and 
would have to carry a detailed explanation about the provenance of the 
data, and why it may not be relicensed at will (and whom to contact 
should there be a concrete demand for relicensing).

This would retain the flexibility the LWG was looking for while at the 
same time opening a back door for anything that is not compatible with 
the contributor agreement. While still creating the risk of data loss at 
a future license change, that risk would at least be clearly docmented 
and it would be clear which data is potentially affected.


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