[Osmf-talk] ODbL and Geocoding (was: license changes)

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Sun Feb 14 01:36:16 UTC 2016


   frankly, I'm much less concerned than you seem to be. Lawyers
discussing our license, tell me something new.

The most important thing for us is to know firmly what we want (in terms
of what rules you have to follow if you do something with our data).

The license is an attempt to distil what we want into legalese but this
is not a lossless process.

It is almost certain that the license doesn't work in all legal systems;
there *will* be countries where you can take OSM and run with it and
ignore our license. Even if this was done in countries where our license
had a more solid legal footing, we'd lack the resources to go after
people. In all cases, the stick we threaten people with is outrage and
not the law.

If someone finds a loophole in our license that "allows" them to do
things with our data that we don't want, would that mean that we'll make
a sad face and say "duh, seems like we lost this one, and we can't even
be outraged because it's our fault for writing a bad license"?

No; if (reasonably respectable) lawyers demonstrate that our license
doesn't do what we want, then we will adapt - by improving our community
norms, or releasing an ODbL 1.1, or if need be changing the license to
whatever works better for us. And we will of course complain, loudly, if
anyone does something with our data we don't want, and "but
$RESPECTABLE_LAW_STUDENTS say it's legal" won't mute that.

What I'm trying to say is that *we* are in control; it's not that we've
fired our one shot and now lawyers can read into our license whatever
their clients pay them to read and we have to accept that.

The area where I see a weakness is what I said initially - knowing
firmly what we want. Asking lawyers what they think the current wording
of our current license says about geocoding may be interesting, but it
is much more interesting to know what we actually *want*. And while the
issue has been around for years, it seems that few actually have an
opinion they consider worth arguing for - it seems that most people
actually don't care much.

It's been almost two years since

was created; soon after, Alex Barth proposed his view (essentially that
the act of geocoding creates a produced work that is free of
share-alike) on that page, and another 6 weeks later I added the/an
alternative view (that at least repeated geocoding creates a derivative
database). Since then, both views essentially sit there looking equally
valid, and compared to how passionately people argue about, say, a Wiki
page that describes the mapping of cycle paths, this issue seems to
gather very little interest at all.

Perhaps we should try and revive discussion by having a poll and seeing
where people stand on the issue, and let that guide our policymaking.

Then later, if lawyers should tell us our license doesn't match our
policy, it would be obvious which of the two needs changing.


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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