[Osmf-talk] Draft New Corporate Membership Tiers

Haklay, Muki m.haklay at ucl.ac.uk
Thu Apr 28 08:52:10 UTC 2016

Hi Kate
Arguably yes. I’ll give a scenario and please feel free to criticise it.
The ambiguity is serving the community in the following way: because of it, many major geodata actors are not using OSM data, leaving the field open to those who are willing to take the risk. It opened a niche for some actors in the OSM ecosystem – both in the commercial and in the non-commercial sectors. Some people on this list are beneficiaries of this, I’d guess. In some cases, employing core members of OSM crowd is used as a way to reduce the risk, as well as other ways of engagement (e.g. sponsoring conferences). I would also risk a guess that it is playing a role in protecting OSM from real or imagined takeovers by making it difficult to pin down what are the exact ownership and use guidelines.
Let’s assume that OSM have a legal voice, and in the next few years we have a growing compendium of legal documents that are becoming the official interpretation, and therefore Big Co X (someone big in the geospatial area) is now satisfied that they can use OSM data without the need to engage with OSMF or anyone in the community, and therefore reducing the advantage that was mentioned above.
Ambiguity also used to protect data – without agreeing with it or thinking that it’s the right way to do thing, the Ordnance Survey in the UK have a ‘derived data’ guidelines to scare potential users of the legal implications of certain actions. You hear huge amount  of complaints about it from the users of the data, but looking at it from OS side, it looks like a good way to ensure that major players will continue to pay the fees to use the data.
Of course this is not to say that it is worth leaving everything as it is or not touching anything, just to highlight that it’s worth considering all the implications of creating such an offer for corporate members as it will push OSMF in the directions of the questions that they will ask by them. This is different from OSMF deciding that it need legal advice on a specific issue that is raised by LWG or the board.

From: Kate Chapman [mailto:kate at maploser.com]
Sent: 28 April 2016 03:03
To: Haklay, Muki <m.haklay at ucl.ac.uk>
Cc: osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
Subject: Re: [Osmf-talk] Draft New Corporate Membership Tiers

Hi Muki,

Thanks for your comments. I can see how this person might be viewed as the "legal voice" for OSM. I was envisioning they were more someone who would work with the LWG and serve as a resource for that working group. The OSMF would be the customer of this legal person so they would certainly need to respect the wishes/views of the foundation regarding the license/other legal matters. Is there a disadvantage to the community if any of the legal ambiguity is clarified?


On Wed, Apr 27, 2016 at 2:27 PM, Haklay, Muki <m.haklay at ucl.ac.uk<mailto:m.haklay at ucl.ac.uk>> wrote:
Hi Kate,
Thank you for all the details, research, and thinking about this issue, but I see a problem with the idea of a ‘General Counsel’ for OSMF in principle which I think merits a discussion about the advantages and disadvantages (building on Simon’s point).
Having a single, definitive legal voice for OSMF is a very significant cultural shift in the governance of OSM and the risks and benefits to companies, individuals and organisations who are using OSM currently. The current legal uncertainty creates opportunities as well as closing others, and while you’re getting a very clear message from potential corporate members that this is what they would like, it’s worth being devil advocate to a very high degree and thinking about all the unintended, adverse impacts of an official, unequivocal interpretation of, say, certain applications of OSM or its technologies. In effect, whatever a General Counsel will states about interpretation of the licence and other issues will be de facto and de jure the view of OSMF. This is not how things operated for the past 12 years with much longer deliberative processes.
Importantly, I don’t say that OSMF shouldn’t go down a road of consolidation and formalisation, which many other organisations gone down through. However, I don’t think that such a decision should be taken without weighing, very carefully, the pluses and minuses of doing so.

From: Kate Chapman [mailto:kate at maploser.com<mailto:kate at maploser.com>]
Sent: 27 April 2016 19:23
To: Jonathan Witcoski <jwitcoski at gmail.com<mailto:jwitcoski at gmail.com>>
Cc: osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org<mailto:osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org>
Subject: Re: [Osmf-talk] Draft New Corporate Membership Tiers

Hi All,

Thanks for you feedback so far, a couple comments.

General Counsel: This is the number one thing that potential corporate members have requested. The idea is not that we are providing advice, but they have their own General Counsel that would like to speak to another lawyer. This is typically how companies operate and the idea was that they are willing to pay a significant amount of money for it. The specific details would still need to be worked out with the LWG and board.  If you look at the bottom of the wiki page I've put this contingent on having at least 5 or higher business members. I think the main reason other foundations don't offer this is that there is not as much discussion are licenses.

Calls with board members: This is intended to help people internally "sell" the corporate membership within their organizations. Many people already talk to board members informally all the time. If you send me an email for example I don't demand you pay me to answer it, should I not answer it because you might be trying to influence me? Though if organizations are interested in this why not help fund the OSMF?


On Wed, Apr 27, 2016 at 11:10 AM, Jonathan Witcoski <jwitcoski at gmail.com<mailto:jwitcoski at gmail.com>> wrote:
I took a look at other opensource project corporate benefits...


They all offer:
Joint Press Releases
Joint Blog posts
Sponsor badge for your Web site
Invitation to Special Events
Discounts (several free tickets and early bird pricing on all others) on tickets to events
Discounts with other corporate sponsors (training and services)
Free standard listing on Drupal Jobs

None are offering:
Legal access to OSMF General Counsel
Yearly call with board members

On Wed, Apr 27, 2016 at 1:19 PM, Christoph Hormann <chris_hormann at gmx.de<mailto:chris_hormann at gmx.de>> wrote:
On Wednesday 27 April 2016, Paul Norman wrote:
> > - 'Attend OSMF general meetings' should be clarified as through a
> > single representative (or a specified higher number) and should
> > emphasize that this does not entail any formal rights in those
> > meetings (i.e. just attendance).
> Corporate members are associate members who are not natural persons,
> and have all the rights of associate members except voting at general
> meetings. This gives them the right to attend and speak at general
> meetings. As a practical matter, the last general meetings have been
> open to the public and we've taken questions without first checking
> for membership.

OK - but implicitly i assume this only applies to a single
representative - anything else would mean extended rights compared to a
normal associate member.

Christoph Hormann
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