[Osmf-talk] Taking a stand against EU directive "Copyright in the Digital Single Market" (upload filters etc.)

Michael Reichert osm-ml at michreichert.de
Sun Sep 9 22:43:09 UTC 2018

Dear board,

I have filed a pull request on Friday to add a banner to the
OpenStreetMap website like our SotM banners.

I have not received any response yet but I have been told that the OSMF
board discussed it and was not in favour of it. I agree that they do not
want to decide on it and prefer the board to decide. But I haven't heard
anything official from you yet. Does this mean that the OSM Foundation
will stay silent on this critical issue and let the bad things happen?

I am not proposing black map tiles for tile.openstreetmap.org (although
I myself am in favour of it because our message would be everywhere).
Instead, I propose a banner which does not harm website usage more than
a SotM banner. Users of our map tiles or adblockers don't notice it at all.

The time frame was short and most of our community (me too) have not
realized early enough the threat but this should not hinder us from
becoming active now!

I myself don't want the foundation to be active in politics all the
time. That's not written in the Mission Statement but it authorises or
forces (?) the foundation to act against lawmakers' decisions
threatening the project.

To cite the OSMF Mission Statement [1]:
> The OpenStreetMap Foundation is there to protect the OSM data to keep
> it Free and Open.

And the section "Scope of the OSMF Board" further says:
> The OSMF board and board members
> * […]
> * Takes active steps to safeguard project relevance, future and
>   success

What's the problem with becoming active in politics if the open
character of the project is in danger? It is neither something totally
unrelated to us nor one of the hundreds of boundary issues on this
planet. We are not facing a sudden end of the project but adding
mandatory filters or reviews might drive away many contributors (maybe
including myself). Implementing these filters will be a lot of work and
require resources (volunteers and money) we would like to use for more
productive topics. Isn't this issue important?

FYI, the German Wikipedia is voting until 10 September 2018 24:00 CEST
on a banner for all pages and a making the landing page black. There is
large majority in favour of the plan.

Best regards


PS An English translation of the German page explaining the problems of
upload filters (https://www.openstreetmap.de/uf/) is under work.

[1] https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Mission_Statement

Am 06.09.2018 um 22:47 schrieb Michael Reichert:
> Hi,
> on 12 September, the plenary of the European Parliament will vote on the
> new EU directive "Copyright in the Digital Single Market". The directive
> will introduce upload filters requiring internet platforms to scan
> contributions of their users for potential copyright violations
> automatically. The original proposal has passed the Committee on Legal
> Affairs on 20 June and failed in the plenary vote a few days later. If
> the plenary accepts the slightly modified proposal on 12 September, the
> trialogue negotiations between the European Parliament, the European
> Commission and the Council of the European Union will start. See also
> https://saveyourinternet.eu/ for more information in your language.
> The press reported that there is some kind of exception for Wikipedia,
> open source software development platforms and online marketplaces.
> However, OpenStreetMap data is not only used by the non-profit
> OpenStreetMap Foundation but also by various other data consumers, most
> of them for-profit businesses.
> FOSSGIS e.V., the OSMF local chapter in Germany, takes a stand
> against it by responding to every tenth tile requests to
> tile.openstreetmap.de with a special black error tile.
> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/File:Savetheinternet.svg
> See it in action on any page using our tile server, e.g.
> https://www.openstreetmap.de/karte.html
> The tiles are distributed randomly over the map.
> *Why does this affect the OSMF?*
> The UK will leave the European Union but it is likely that many EU rules
> will nonetheless apply in the UK as well, depending on how the
> negotiations continue.
> *What should the OSMF do?*
> I myself think that the OSMF should show at least a banner on
> openstreetmap.org instead of the usual conference banners – ideally
> ignoring cookie settings and showing it to every visitor for about three
> days.
> *What more could the OSMF do?*
> The OSMF could go even further and answer one of ten requests to its
> European (or all) tile caches with a black or grey error tile showing a
> short URL of a page containing more information about the bad side of
> upload filters.
> *What could other local chapters and operators of free to use tile
> servers in Europe do?*
> They could join the initiative of FOSSGIS and also show error tiles.
> Our error tile can be found at:
> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/File:Savetheinternet.png
> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/File:Savetheinternet.svg
> Our special page about the black tiles is
> https://www.openstreetmap.de/uf/ (only in German but an automatic
> translation will help to understand the structure)
> *The downside*
> I don't want to keep the downside secret as it has already been
> discussed on the German OSM forum. Showing black tiles on third-party
> websites can be perceived by their operators as an intervention into
> their website. They will not like it when the always neutral, reliable
> and free of charge tile provider inserts political statements into their
> site. However, they should keep in mind that they use a free service and
> that we have to defend our project and our idea of a free and open
> collaborative map to be able to provide this service in future. Given
> that there are multiple tile providers and the tile server of FOSSGIS
> e.V. uses an open source map style, the board of FOSSGIS e.V. decided to
> show the black tiles even if it could drive away some users.
> On the other hand, any banner can be hidden by adblockers, a problem we
> already face with our promotional banners for conferences and donation
> drives on openstreetmap.org. If a tile server responds with an
> "advertisement", the ad blocker has no chance to replace it with a real
> map. It can only hide it and leave a grey/rose gap.
> *The technical part*
> The German tile server uses Apache and mod_tile without an additional
> cache server like Squid or Varnish to deliver its tiles. It is possible
> to answer randomly every n-th request with this black tile. This means,
> reloading the a page might result in different tiles being replaced by
> the error tile.
> If you use mod_tile, add following to your VirtualHost configuration
> before any mod_tile related statements:
>     RewriteEngine on
>     RewriteMap filtered "rnd:/etc/apache2/filtered.txt"
>     RewriteCond "${filtered:0}" "1"
>     RewriteRule "^/(.*)(\d).png" "/saveyourinternet.png" [PT]
> /etc/apache2/filtered.txt has following content:
> 0 0|0|0|0|0|0|0|1
> The space as second character is correct. The number of zeros determines
> the probability to receive a normal tile.
> saveyourinternet.png has to be located in the DocumentRoot of the
> virtual host.
> Best regards
> Michael (Nakaner)
> FOSSGIS e.V. – OpenStreetMap Deutschland
> _______________________________________________
> osmf-talk mailing list
> osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/osmf-talk

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