[Talk-us] Can US OSM help with license upgrade? (was: Re: License Upgrade - Stage Two Begins)

Steven Johnson sejohnson8 at gmail.com
Thu Aug 12 16:16:01 BST 2010

Virtually all geospatial data obtained from government agencies in the US,
-local, state, or Federal is subject to either Federal or state public
records law, and therefore in the public domain. (Note however that some
states have stronger public records law than others). Of course, there are
exceptions for super secret security-related data sets, but generally
speaking virtually all geodata (e.g. TIGER, NHD, NAAP, USGS, local parcels &
real property info, survey monumentation, etc.) is in the public domain.
(Some agencies, particularly local governments, charge a fee for the data,
but this is almost always to recoup the costs of reproduction, packaging,
distribution, and so forth.)

Since the data are in the public domain, no explicit permission is needed to
use and improve these data sets, perhaps US OSM board resources could be put
to other licensing-related issues, such as how to funnel improvements made
by OSM mappers back to government agencies.

<shameless plug>If you're interested in exploring these issues, please
attend the panel discussion on government agencies & OSM at this weekend's
US State of the Map conference. I'll be moderating the discussion and
welcome any and all participants.</shameless plug>

"Wretches, utter wretches, keep your hands from beans." -Empedocles

On Thu, Aug 12, 2010 at 10:58, Al Haraka <alharaka at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Thu, Aug 12, 2010 at 10:27 AM, Dave Hansen <dave at sr71.net> wrote:
> > On Thu, 2010-08-12 at 10:23 -0400, Nakor wrote:
> >> My only issue is the first paragraph of the Contributor Terms. I do not
> >> have **explicit** permission from the various US government entities and
> >> do not feel comfortable accepting those terms.
> >>
> >> One of the mission of the US OSM could be to get explicit permission
> >> from those federal/state/local government entities that we derived data
> >> from.
> >
> > Or get a lawyer to tell you whether or not the license terms under which
> > the various entities provided the data impact the relicensing.
> Is it particularly clear that OSMF, if I correctly understand it to be
> the umbrella organization, actually has their own attorneys?  I am
> under the impression they volunteer in a very limited basis, and it in
> unclear if they see themselves as OSM counsel, and not just working on
> the ODBL (I imagine the latter).  These are things that need clearing
> up, and will dictate what kind of resources we have and what we would
> need in the future.
> > -- Dave
> >
> >
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