[Talk-GB] OS OpenData and ODbL OK

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemed.net
Tue Jul 5 15:57:17 BST 2011

Robert Whittaker (OSM) wrote:
> 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.

Exactly. :)

> 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"

It's not, fortunately - it's an express statement that only reproduction of
the whole of a "substantial part" of a copyrighted work is covered.

(I've recommended it on OSM lists before, but for those who haven't seen it,
http://www.ipo.gov.uk/cdpact1988.pdf is an essential reference to any
discussion of copyright in the UK. Download a copy and refer to it
regularly, e.g. when you're having trouble sleeping. The bit in question
here is II.16.3.a.)

As you know, ODbL is enforced three ways: copyright, database right,
contract. The express intention behind ODbL's "insubstantial" clarification
clause (6.2) is to ensure that the contract pillar doesn't remove your
existing rights under the other two pillars.

"Substantial" is, of course, difficult to pin down and you rightly mention
the community guidelines as part of this. But I think this is analogous to
what we already do for attribution. osm.org/copyright currently reads:

| "Our CC-BY-SA licence requires you to “give the Original Author 
| credit reasonable to the medium or means You are utilising”. 
| Individual OSM mappers do not request a credit over and above 
| that to “OpenStreetMap contributors”, but where data from a 
| national mapping agency or other major source has been included 
| in OpenStreetMap, it may be reasonable to credit them by 
| directly reproducing their credit or by linking to it on this page."

We should probably do the same for the guidelines. "These are the norms to
which the OSM community works, but where data from a national mapping agency
or other major source has been included in OpenStreetMap, you should be
aware that they may have their own expectations of substantial extraction."

> 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.

Your call for your data, of course!

But I think OS have demonstrated a huge amount of good faith on this, and it
would be a shame to bother their staff further - particularly given that all
public-sector staff are under the cosh at the moment. The law isn't black
and white: it works with probabilities and intentions, and Mike and Henk's
work has clearly illustrated OS's intention is that they're happy with
OpenData being included in OSM.

Because the law _isn't_ black and white, and because factual databases are
(as a very rich case law history demonstrates) a particularly complex and
still unsettled area, there are always going to be areas with slight
divergences. That's natural. But personally I consider that this OS
statement has put the case "beyond reasonable doubt", and it would be
terrific if - the Contributor Terms clarification permitting - you could
agree for your data. Especially for those of us who like mapping Oxfordshire
and the Severn Way (ok, I declare an interest. I won't actually be allowed
to remap that bit of the Severn Way you did. Anna is still barely talking to
me after the number of stinging nettles when she and I mapped the adjoining
section ;) ).


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