[Osmf-talk] OSM Foundation representative for Open Data Commons' Advisory Council

Mike Collinson michael at osmfoundation.org
Wed Mar 25 20:50:56 UTC 2009

Dear OpenStreetMap Foundation Member,

The Open Data Commons is the sponsor of the ODbL (Open Database License) that we are considering adopting. They have asked the OSM Foundation to nominate a representative to their Advisory Council [1].  As this person should be a bridge between OSM license activities and the ODC's evolution of the ODbL, an OSM License Working Group or board member would practical.  I have offered to fill this role.

The License Working Group would like to give you the opportunity to comment before making a recommendation to the Foundation board.

I am in my second year as Foundation board member and have recently joined the License Working Group.  Graduated in science from Cambridge and London, I've a multi-year career in applying technology to new business areas including software license and business contract development.  I am not lawyer.

I personally believe that the most important thing for OpenStreetMap to achieve now is a license that really does freely allow anyone to use our unique database in "creative, productive, or unexpected ways"  [2] and promotes the ideals of open data in a way satisfactory to a united OpenStreetMap community.  That is not an easy task and we are pioneers.  But it has been done with software, it has been done with creative works so we can do it too. However, our speciality is shared geo-spatial data and community map and tool making, not the law. So we need to work with some one.   The "No Rights Reserved” route advocated by Creative Commons [3] is one approach.  I like it, but it is repugnant to a large sector of our community and, to me, unity is essential.  I strongly believe that the one viable alternative is the ODbL, which maintains the Attribution/Share-Alike tradition we have now, but attempts to clarify and make viable the mixing of data from different sources.  I'd therefore like to act as a conduit for OSM contributors to influence the evolution and development of the license to best suite our particular needs.  In particular, I want to work on making it easy to understand by people wanting to use our data.

Whether or not you agree with the ODbL license, I also look forward to learning a lot about open data licensing issues that will be useful to us as we move forward.

Michael Collinson

[1] http://www.opendatacommons.org/about/advisory-council/

[2] "OpenStreetMap creates and provides free geographic data such as street maps to anyone who wants them. The project was started because most maps you think of as free actually have legal or technical restrictions on their use, holding back people from using them in creative, productive, or unexpected ways. "

[3] http://creativecommons.org/about/cc0

More information about the osmf-talk mailing list