[Talk-GB] OSM with Wikidata: now covers UK and Ireland

Edward Betts edward at 4angle.com
Fri Mar 11 20:21:26 UTC 2016

Richard Fairhurst <richard at systemed.net> wrote:
> Colin Smale wrote:
> > As we are not copying the content from Wikipedia/Wikidata, but just 
> > a reference
> Unfortunately it's not quite that simple.
> The matching is done by co-ordinates. The co-ordinates in Wikidata could be
> held to be information copyrighted by Google. Consequently you could argue
> that the matching - "the selection or the arrangement of the contents of the
> database", to use the language from the Database Directive - is itself a
> derivative of Google's map data.
> To be clear, I'm not arguing one way or another - I've probably studied the
> related issues as much as anyone on this list and it's not obvious to me
> which way it would fall. But anything with the potential to affect such a
> large amount of OSM data in the UK needs a thorough legal review, lest we
> inadvertently encumber thousands of uses of OSM with Google IP.

The way I see it is like this. OSM uses the Open Database License (ODbL),
Wikipedia is Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 (CC-BY-SA). Wikidata
is public domain or CC0. 

OSM uses European law which includes database rights. Wikimedia projects are
governed by US law which does not recognize database rights.

Under US law coordinates are facts, they can't be copyrighted. There is no
protection for coordinates under US law. Therefore Wikimedia has no problems
importing coordinates from Wikipedia into Wikidata.

Under European law individual coordinates aren't copyrightable, but a large
group of them can be considered to constitute a database and database rights
come into play.

Wikimedia does not assert database rights for Wikidata or Wikipedia.

According to taginfo there are 63,782 OSM objects with a wikidata tag.

See https://taginfo.openstreetmap.org/keys/wikidata

Nobody has any legal objection to adding Wikidata tags to OSM. We aren't
violating the database rights of Wikidata by including 60k+ links to Wikidata.

We assume that these wikidata tags have been added by hand.

The question is whether automating the process of adding wikidata tags to OSM
somehow causes a copyright or database right violation.

I'm specifically not copying any data at all from Wikidata to OSM. I'm not
copying the coordinates, labels or any properties from Wikidata. The only
thing I'm adding is a link. I think it is fine for the matching software to
consider the location of an item in Wikidata and OSM when deciding if they are
a match. This does not make OSM a derived work of Wikidata.

There is significant fuzziness in the matching for the location. The matching
algorithm consider Wikidata items and OSM objects within 1 kilometres of each
other when looking for a match.

I hope this answers the question about the legal ramifications of adding links
from OSM to Wikidata.


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