[Talk-GB] OS OpenData and ODbL OK

Robert Whittaker (OSM) robert.whittaker+osm at gmail.com
Tue Jul 5 15:30:37 BST 2011

On 5 July 2011 14:32, Richard Fairhurst <richard at systemed.net> wrote:
> Robert Whittaker (OSM) wrote:
>> In the context of OSM, the fact that the contents will be under
>> DbCL will enable users to make use "insubstantial extracts"
>> without having to provide any attribution or share-alike or anything
>> else.
> Again, as I said, "insubstantial" is statute law - both the EU Database
> Directive [1] and CDPA 1988 [2]. It applies as much to OS OpenData outside
> OSM+ODbL, as it does to OpenData within OSM+ODbL. I can copy and paste three
> lines from OS Locator here, without attribution, perfectly legally:

So if I understand what you're saying correctly, because there are
already provisions in UK law (and possibly elsewhere) that allow you
to make use of insubstantial parts of a work in any way you want
without infringing any copyright or database rights, we don't have to
worry about getting special permission to allow OSM users to do this
under ODbL+CDbL.

I'm not sure those statue provisions are necessarily the same thing as
the liberal content license under ODbL+CDbL, but it certainly goes
some way towards it. (Although if the only "insubstantial" allowance
in CPDA is under "fair dealing", then I think it would not be enough,
because of the other restrictions on what you can do under fair
dealing. But I don't know the legislation well enough to comment on
this.) We might also have to worry about effects in other
jurisdictions -- although OS wouldn't be likely to sue someone for
doing something that was legal in the UK, it might still be a worry
for downstream users in other countries.

Finally, the "insubstantial" in ODbL which relates only to database
rights might be interpreted differently from the "insubstantial" in
the CDPA in relation to copyright in the individual contents. For
example, we would want to be free to set our community guidelines
appropriately. Under
it currently says an OSM extract of an "area of up to 1,000
inhabitants" would be insubstantial. Are we sure that OS would agree
that this is insubstantial, and be happy for people to replicate such
a map of theirs without attribution?

This issue is certainly not as bad as I first thought, but I still
think this is something that should be checked carefully, either by
getting an explicit agreement from OS, or an OK from OSM's lawyers.


Robert Whittaker

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