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

Dale Puch dale.puch at gmail.com
Mon Aug 16 21:26:43 BST 2010

A real problem is that the data itself is not properly tagged, or does not
explicitly state what if any restrictions are placed on it.  When it is not
perfectly clear is when non-lawyers like us are putting themselves and OSM
in possible trouble.

A few examples:
The web site has copyright notices on it, but the shape file data for access
is blank but asks for attribution...
  An e-mail response regarding this is that we can use it with
attribution.   What satisfies the attribution, and is that e-mail valid
permission for the data use?
  Is putting a copy of the e-mail on the wiki enough documentation that we
were given permission?
I believe Michigan by default copyrights all it's GIS data.  vs. most states
that default to NOT copyrighting.
Some place charge a fee to get the data, but is it then free to then copy
and reuse?
Official state clearinghouses (usually a university) will sometimes edit the
shape files to include copyright, even though the source data was
specifically not.
Free to get and use for personal use is not equal to public domain.

These are just some of the question/issues I have come up with.  I can guess
what should be the answer to most of them, but that is not the same as what
the legal answer would be.
If the US OSM could coordinate getting some answers, guidelines, or
procedures for approving data sources that would help a lot.  Or even
specifically approving/excluding the use of various data.

Perhaps they could even convince a lawyer to do it as pro bono   A quick
google search: http://www.probono.net/

This seems exactly like one of the reasons for forming the US OSM  A way for
a group to interface with lawyers and government agencies.


On Thu, Aug 12, 2010 at 3:56 PM, Apollinaris Schoell <aschoell at gmail.com>wrote:

> On Thu, Aug 12, 2010 at 8:20 AM, Al Haraka <alharaka at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Thu, Aug 12, 2010 at 11:06 AM, Apollinaris Schoell
>> <aschoell at gmail.com> wrote:
>> >
>> >
>> > US government data  is public domain. you can do whatever you like to do
>> > with it. All big ones from Garmin, Google ... you name it use this data.
>> > there is absolute no need to get explicit  permission for individuals.
>> It is
>> > the law and what can be more explicit than that. As an example county of
>> > Santa Clara even lost the law suit a couple of years ago when they tried
>> to
>> > protect and sell their data for more than redistribution costs.
>> I do not know if you are a lawyer, or even one with sitting on the bar
>> in any jurisdiction in the United States.  That being said, neither am
>> I.  The Santa Clara case, the similar one in Schenectady, NY, and
>> dozens of others are good examples of what you mean.  But still,
>> blanket generalizations from people without legal credentials, *me*
>> included, will not prevent us from getting sued or into legal trouble
>> or building something that holds water so we can prevent others from
>> screwing us/abusing all the hard work we do.  Also, notice the few
>> attorneys involved with OSM (SteveC mentioned them) have the scruples
>> to not discuss it with lots of us, as it will not help and people
>> construing their emails on these lists as bona fide legal advice gets
>> them in trouble.  Hence, they have been very silent the entire time
>> despite people demanding answers on licensing as of late.  That is not
>> an accident.  This is why I asked about their capacity as attorneys
>> earlier.  I do not mean to be rude or start a flame, but what legal
>> resources are necessary whether or not we like to think all USG data
>> is PD, and we can do whatever we want with it.
> I am not even close to be a lawyer but this is has been discussed and
> proved in court  many times.
> this maybe different for some states and is different for data provided by
> companies or organizations even when the government funded them.
>> --
>> Alexander J. Stein
>> Cell:  (201) 412-9479
>> Email: alharaka at gmail.com
>> Skype: alexander.j.stein
>> AIM:   elduderino6886
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