[Talk-GB] OS OpenData now OGL

Robert Whittaker (OSM lists) robert.whittaker+osm at gmail.com
Mon Feb 23 16:46:34 UTC 2015

On 23 February 2015 at 16:07, Rob Nickerson <rob.j.nickerson at gmail.com> wrote:
> I think you are overly risk averse in this case and it could limit
> interesting uses of this data. The risk all along was that the OS could take
> offence to how we are using the data (the local authorities we forced to use
> the OS OpenData licence when they just wanted to make the data available as
> open). Yeah of course the OS cannot retrospectively change the licence of
> things released in the past but the fact that they have removed the licence
> text from their website and put a url redirect to the OGL suggests to me
> that the OS OpenData licence is dead. The risk is gone so lets not pretend
> otherwise as it will just send a negative message to our community.

It depends on whether your aim is to comply with the terms of the
licence, or just avoid being sued for violating it. From the latter
point of view, I'd entirely agree with you. But I'd prefer to see OSM
following the former.

If the boot were on the other foot, I'm sure we'd be none too happy
for some large company to take our data and ignore OSM's licence, on
the grounds that we could never afford to sue them and they didn't
care about any negative public opinion.

Anyway, it's possible I've mis-interpretted OS's reply, and I've
emailed them again to ask for clarification.

Reading the PSMA, clause 2.4 specifically refers to allowing the
distribution of datasets under the "OS OpenData Licence Terms", which
is then essentially defined as the licence OS OpenData is offered
under (rather than the old "OS OpenData Licence" itself) -- which is
now the OGL. So depending on the precise wording of any
correspondence/permission between OS and the other Public Authorities,
it's possible the authority has to change the licence to OGL, as it
would be violating the PSMA if it continues to distribute the data
under a different licence. Although it would be a rather odd agreement
that would allow OS to arbitrarily change the licence without
notifying the other party. And like the GPL, violating software isn't
automatically licensed to any recipients, the author would have the
choice to stop distributing it instead.


Robert Whittaker

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