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

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Wed Jul 4 10:08:01 BST 2007

> 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
We have a consensus that using OSM as the base map in an overlay  
application (like OpenLayers) doesn't make the whole application a  
derived work (so you are allowed to create a web site that uses an  
OSM base layer and some proprietary layers on top, and license that  
web site any way you want). I know you don't like it when I write of  
"consensus" but this has been said or implied by many people during  
license discussions, and no-one ever objected.

If you now create a video of such an overlay, you merge the layers  
into something that cannot be separated. I'd say that by doing so,  
the end product now becomes a derived work and has to be licensed CC- 

If the copyright holders of the other layer data have agreed to this,  
I see absolutely no reason why your plan should not work.

CC-BY-SA "infection" works forwards only - derived products have to  
be licensed CC-BY-SA. No part of CC-BY-SA postulates that other  
components used together with a CC-BY-SA licensed content must  
somehow "reversely" become CC-BY-SA.

As for the TV company using your resulting CC-BY-SA movie: I would be  
entirely happy with that but your "what if they set it to music"  
questions are tough and I'd rather not think about that lest I get a  

There was a huge discussion in February as someone from ITN wanted to  
use an OSM map of Baghdad. Entry point here:


The result of that discussion was that our data wasn't really what  
they needed anyway, but if it had been, they would have shied away  
from using it because of legal uncertainties. The discussion brought  
to daylight a lot of interesting things, for example many assumed  
that crediting "OSM" would be sufficient while others pointed out  
that OSM is not the copyright holder, but individual mappers license  
their data under CC-BY-SA and so must be credited individually.  
Others pointed out that the CC-BY-SA as a provision about crediting  
"if practical" or so and it would be impractical to list 100s of  
names in a TV spot. The worst thing, in my eyes, that resulted from  
that discussion was that OSM itself is neither willing nor able to  
offer legal guidance or even certainty to commercial users - i.e.  
there's no one here who can tell them, in writing, that their  
intended purpose is within the license. Not surprisingly, this  
results in very limited use of our data in the business world.

I'd suggest to take this to the legal-talk list (Cc'ed).


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00.09' E008°23.33'

More information about the talk mailing list