[Talk-GB] OS OpenData now OGL

Robert Whittaker (OSM lists) robert.whittaker+osm at gmail.com
Mon Feb 23 15:38:28 UTC 2015

On 22 February 2015 at 14:55, Rob Nickerson <rob.j.nickerson at gmail.com> wrote:
> I see that the old OS OpenData Licence URL now redirects to OGL version 3 (
> http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/docs/licences/os-opendata-licence.pdf
> ) and as such we can safely assume that the OS consider the licence dead.
> Other UK agencies who have released data under this licence should update
> their text accordingly, if this doesn't happen then a polite email to alert
> them of the change would be encouraged. I see no reason to wait for this
> change to be made prior to using the data in OpenStreetMap. We have a green
> light lets not convince ourselves it's any other colour :-)
> In terms of public rights of way released under the OS OpenData licence,
> this means there is nothing blocking our use of this data.

I think that would be jumping the gun slightly. What I understand from
OS's answer to me, is that previously released datasets will remain
under the OS-ODL, and there is no automatic retrospective change of
the licence.

OS themselves have now updated their licence pages for their own OS
OpenData Products, so the current releases of these can now be used
under the OGL. (This doesn't change that much for OSM, since we could
already use most of those datasets anyway under a separate agreement.
But it does mean we can now use CodePoint Open.) Any new datasets
released under PSMA exemptions (e.g. Rights of Way GIS datasets from
local councils) will presumably be under the OGL by default too.

However, for third-party data that was previously released under the
PSMA exemption rules under the OS-ODL, I don't believe that OS could
re-licence them even if they wanted to -- there's no up-grade clause
in the OS-ODL, and OS doesn't own all the rights in the data to allow
them to make that decision. Thus even if OS are happy with a change,
it's up to the third-party rights holder whether or not they wish to
re-licence each dataset.

As far as I understand their reply, OS have said that they will be
happy for OS-derived datasets previously released under OS-ODL to be
re-licenced under the OGL, and will be amending their guidance
accordingly. We can only hope that the OS guidance will also make it
clear that third-parties are free to re-licence existing datasets, and
ideally encourage them to do so. Unless or until any re-licencing
occurs, I'm afraid that the datasets would remain available only under
the OS-ODL, and so cannot be used in OSM. So I think we'll just have
to be patient and wait a little longer...

Once OS release their updated PSMA guidance, we can presumably begin
contacting third parties asking asking them to re-licence their
existing datasets under the OGL.


Robert Whittaker

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