[OSM-talk] collective and derived work - a real world example

Peter Miller peter.miller at itoworld.com
Wed Jul 4 08:59:17 BST 2007


I am asking if anyone objects to my interpretation of the OSM creative
commons license. I will subsequently check this interpretation with a
lawyer, but want a community opinion first about whether it is a use that
the community would support.


My company wants to use OSM data in conjunction with other copyright
scheduled transport data to produce an animated movie of public transport
movements in the UK (or a part of the UK). We would use OSM data for the
base mapping (coastline, Trunk and Primary road and the railway line) and
copyright schedules detailing trains and or buses movements. We believe we
would be able to get agreement from the copyright holders for the scheduled
transport information to licence the resulting movie under the same creative
commons share-like license used by OSM and so we can make it available on
youtube/ google video. We would provide appropriate acknowledgement for the
OSM element of the Work. We believe that this project will provide useful
publicity for OSM, my company (Ito World Ltd), and for the transport
authority and operator providing the schedules; indeed it is the transport
operator who is pushing for the video to be made available. It could also
set a useful legal precedent.


The copyright holders of the scheduled data itself would clearly not be
intending (or even authorised) to make the schedules themselves available
under creative commons.


I am not a lawyer, but my reading of the legal code (
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode) allows for just
this assemblage of different Works without compromising the legal status of
the various elements. The key words are 'Collective Work', 'in its entirety
in unmodified form' and 'will not be considered a Derived Work'). We would
be importing OSM planet in its entirety and would be using it in unmodified
form (although we would be choosing to display only those elements from OSM
that were appropriate for our purposes). 


To quote from creative commons licence agreement: "Collective Work" means a
work, such as a periodical issue, anthology or encyclopedia, in which the
Work in its entirety in unmodified form, along with a number of other
contributions, constituting separate and independent works in themselves,
are assembled into a collective whole. A work that constitutes a Collective
Work will not be considered a Derivative Work (as defined below) for the
purposes of this License.


The resulting work will therefore consist of OSM elements (creative commons)
and scheduled transport movements (copyright) which are used to create a
movie (creative commons).


For the avoidance of doubt, it would be breaking copyright (and would
probably also be completely impractical) to reverse engineer transport
schedules from the resulting movie as this element is copyright and it would
also be breaking the licence agreement for the mapping element to reverse
engineer mapping data from the resulting Work to create a map product that
didn't honour the OSM licence agreement.


Following on with this thought process, let's assume that a TV company
wished to use this new Work in a TV broadcast (and retain copyright on the


If this video animation was then used as part of a TV broadcast (a copyright
work) the same logic would apply (the video would be considered a Collective
Work within the package as it is used in its entirety and in an un-modified
form), although in this case the resulting overall assemblage would be
copyright to the TV company but would contain a creative commons element
(the movie) which in turn would hold a copyright element (the transport
schedules) and a creative commons element (the OSM data). The TV company
would need to honour the attribution requirements of the movie that would
need to honour the attribution requirements of the OSM element. A small
wrinkle here. what if the TV company cut element of the movie? Or set it to
music? Ok, I think that sort of thing really does need a lawyer but it would
be necessary to allow a TV company to edit the length of the Work to fit
their time contraints and purpose to be useful. 


I will need to get this use checked legally before proceeding, but I would
first like confirmation from the community that it meets the spirit of the


I suggest that in time we build up a body of 'Use Cases' for the OSM data on
the wiki, together with the legal interpretation that supports (or
prohibits) that use.











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