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

Peter Miller peter.miller at itoworld.com
Wed Mar 25 22:32:29 UTC 2009

On 25 Mar 2009, at 20:50, Mike Collinson wrote:

> 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.

Sounds good to me. I assume that you do have the necessary time to  
devote to it because I fear this could be time consuming in the short  

> 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 do however assume that you will have direct access to the Foundation  
lawyer as required and will see all communication between the  
foundation lawyer and Jordan? Ihmo it will not be possibly to perform  
this role without good timely legal advice.

> 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.

My first priority is a license that works, my second priority is a SA  
license. If the ODbL license works then that is excellent, however if  
it will only continue the uncertainty of the current license then we  
may need to consider a plan B. Lets work to get a good ODbL license  
together if we can.
> 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.

I am conscious that there have been no posts on legal-talk nor any on  
ODC-discuss nor any on the OSM wiki from the licensing team to address  
any of the question we have raised during the consultation phase.  
Forgive me if I am wrong on that however there are people on the legal- 
talk list who are also interested to learn more about the license and  
how it will work and we are awaiting answers to some of the questions.  
Even the question of 'who's database is it' seems to still be  

Many thanks,


> Regards,
> 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
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