[Talk-GB] OS OpenData and accepting the new contributor terms

Michael Collinson mike at ayeltd.biz
Thu Jun 16 17:50:57 BST 2011

Here is as much information as I can give. It is not conclusive so I 
would summarise by saying that I *personally* (great emphasis!) have 
some contributions derived from OS StreetView data and have accepted the 
new terms without qualms. I explain my reasons below and what I intend 
to do. I hope they help you make up your own mind either way if you are 
in a similar situation.

The License Working Group has sought legal advice, as per instructions 
previously on the OS website, on whether OS OpenData can be used to 
derive information distributed under the Open Database License 1.0. Our 
understanding from that is, yes, it is OK. However, we understand 
indirectly and informally that the OS may not be happy with that. The 
LWG is therefore very reluctant to issue any clear statement. We believe 
we comply with the new Open Government License. However, the OS has 
regretfully decided not to use that but instead incorporate it into 
their own unique license. The only provision that we can see that might 
be contentious is this:

""The same attribution statements must be contained in any sub-licenses 
of the Information that you grant, together with a requirement that any 
further sub-license do the same."

I.e. at the most extreme, could it be that school children making a map 
in a different country have to use the specific attribution language 
specified by the OS?

I have now written directly to the Ordnance Survey legal advisor and 
will keep you informed of any developments as openly as I can.

The next bit is a *personal* statement from me as an OpenStreetMap 

  I have traced some woods, buildings and used some road names in 
Yorkshire from OS StreetView. I have tagged each with an OS source tag.

I have accepted the new contributor terms.

I do so because the OSMF did what the OS asked and that was ask their 
own lawyer and not contact the OS directly. The OSMF understanding from 
that advice was that there is no incompatibility. There have been no 
cease-and-desist demands from the OS.

I respect IP rights and if they are potentially unhappy, that concerns 
me. I also do not want to upset other mappers.  I have therefore stopped 
deriving anything at all from OS OpenData. I am slowly replacing woods 
and buildings from the now available Bing imagery ... it is better 
anyway. If the OS conveys a direct compatibiliity message, I will start 
using it again.  If the reverse  I complete the job and remove 
everything because I have a new understanding and should comply with our 
contributor terms.


[1] OS Licence:  

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