[Talk-us] press from SOTM US

Paul Norman penorman at mac.com
Sat Oct 20 17:02:17 GMT 2012

> From: Toby Murray [mailto:toby.murray at gmail.com]
> Sent: Saturday, October 20, 2012 12:59 AM
> To: Talk Openstreetmap
> Subject: Re: [Talk-us] press from SOTM US
> On Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 10:48 PM, Richard Welty <rwelty at averillpark.net>
> wrote:
> > we got some. Carl Frantzen of Talking Points Memo asked me about
> > coming to SOTM US and i urged him to do so. he did and here we are:
> >
> > http://idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/10/openstreetmap-part-1-new-
> > cartographers.php
> Not quite sure what the little paragraph about "move away from its open
> source roots." is all about. He kind of dropped that in there like a
> live hand grenade and then didn't say any more about it.
> Apparently this will be in parts 2 and 3. Having been at the session
> where I think this statement came from, I can assure everyone that there
> was absolutely no talk about moving away from an open license!
> :)

Well, there's a difference between open source and open data. My
understanding is that OSM is an open data project, but the OSM services run
by OSMF are open source. There are non-open source tools for working with
OSM data like ESRI's ArcGis OSM editor or Maperitive. The downside to
closed-source software in a project like OSM is that you're a lot less
likely to get help from the people in the community who have already faced
similar challenges. 

> The discussion was about the fact that some companies are very afraid of
> share-alike licenses and it is preventing them from using our data to
> its fullest potential. There is some uncertainty about when exactly the
> share-alike clause is activated. One specific example that was
> mentioned: If you use OSM data to geocode a user's address, does the
> user database then have to be shared? That's apparently how the lawyers
> tend to read it but in my mind this would be silly. We have no use for a
> company's user database even if it were possible to release it without
> breaking every privacy law on the books.

Not even the OSMF shares its user table, so in my mind also this is a silly
reading of the ODbL. I believe part of the confusion is because the case law
around what is and isn't a derivative work is not well defined.

There might be a scenario on which after distributing a user's exact
location you also have to release the address corresponding to that location
if requested... but if the data is accurate and the geocoder is any good,
you can just do the reverse geocoding.

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