[Talk-GB] OSM Contributor Terms vs OS OpenData Licence

Robert Whittaker (OSM) robert.whittaker+osm at gmail.com
Mon Apr 18 17:05:28 BST 2011

On 18 April 2011 15:33, Tom Chance <tom at acrewoods.net> wrote:
> This debate has been trawled over a number of times on this list already.
> Are you hoping to catch newer subscribers who haven't yet experienced the
> joy of this debate yet?

I'm hoping to catch anyone who might otherwise accidentally sign
something they aren't legally free to sign. I am sure that there are
many people who will assume that the prevalence of OS OpenData in OSM
and its presence in major editors means it is ok for the new CTs,
without giving it a second thought.  There's been at least one case
already on talk@ where someone has signed the CTs and only realised
later that some of the sources they'd used meant they weren't legally
able to do so. We should be doing everything we can to avoid repeats
of this.

As a result of previous discussions about the issue of sources, new
wording was introduced in CT v 1.2.3 that would have made it ok to
sign and having used OS OpenData and other sources. I assumed
everything would be fine at this point. Unfortunately, this wording
was removed again by LWG for CT version 1.2.4. This subtle change
could easily have been missed (it wasn't in the diff for example,
since that highlighted the changes between 1.2.4 and a much earlier
version). Hence those following previous discussions might be under
the (IMO mistaken) impression that it was ok to sign.

>> It is regrettable that OSMF is placing the burden of working out
>> whether contributed data is compatible with the CTs and licences on
>> individual volunteer mappers.
> As you later state, they aren't. They are seeking legal advice to help
> contributors.

I don't think asking someone to sign a contract, relying on separate
legal advice presented by the other party is the same thing at all. It
is still up to the individuals to evaluate things themselves. If OSMF
wanted to take this burden away from mappers they would provide an
explicit list of acceptable licences / sources within the contract
itself (or in a normatively linked list).

In any case, the legal advice hasn't arrived yet, and we don't know
what it will say, but we are still being asked to sign the CTs now.

> Perhaps they should specifically warn UK users on the web site
> form that seeks agreement with the CTs until this advice comes in? That
> might be something to constructively lobby for.

I've already suggested to LWG the need for a more general warning
about previously-used sources. In response, an LWG member suggested
that he could post in talk-gb explaining the current (unresolved)
situation with regard to OS OpenData. Unfortunately he didn't post and
the mandatory sign-up started. Hence my post here.

> I agree that the way the OSMF have gone about this process is regrettable in
> a number of respects, but I don't see how stirring this up again helps
> anyone.

My post was not intended to "stir things up" as you put it, but to
remind people to check for themselves whether or not they have legal
ability to sign the CTs before doing so. From the numbers of UK
mappers accepting the CTs, and the prevalence of OS OpenData in OSM, I
would guess that quite a few people have already signed who have made
use of OS OpenData. So either they haven't considered the
incompatibility or have considered it and decided everything is fine.
As far as I can see, it is very clear cut that the two are not
compatible. Maybe I've got it wrong -- in which case I'd be grateful
if someone could explain why my reasoning is incorrect -- though I've
yet to see any convincing arguments for this, either on this list
or elsewhere.

The purpose of the CTs is to end up with a "clean" set of data in
OSM, so allowing people to mistakenly grant OSMF rights they can't
legally grant isn't going to help anyone. Hence my desire to ensure
that people are adequately informed. I'm sorry if you think this is
stirring things up, but I think it's better to be safe than sorry.

Robert Whittaker

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