[OSM-talk] License plan

Ben Laenen benlaenen at gmail.com
Fri Feb 27 16:41:36 GMT 2009

On Friday 27 February 2009, Frederik Ramm wrote:
> Lambertus wrote:
> > If we change to the new license then do we have a tool available
> > that will remind me of the bits that are going to be rolled back
> > because of my contribution being dependent on someone who did not
> > agree to the license? I would like to know which bits of my data
> > are going to be rolled back so I can edit that area again to fix
> > it.
> I think it is unfortunate that the discussion circles around this,
> which is one of weak spots of the whole process. I think it is
> absolutely clear that we cannot and will not accept the loss of a
> large amount of present-day data.

I don't call it just a weak spot. I call it fundamental to the entire 
process of license changing.

As long as there's no answer to it, there's really no point in going on 
IMHO, as no-one knows what to expect in cases where for example 5% of 
users opposed the change or never replied.

And personally I wouldn't even accept the loss of even a tiny amount of 
my uploaded data. And I'm sure that's what most mappers are most 
interested in as well.

And I would refuse to answer any question to relicense my data as well 
as long as there's not a single statement on what would happen with 
data derived from badly licensed data. And I want a very detailed 
answer as well, like what exact metrics would be used to calculate the 
amount of data without approval, and how much removed data would be 

> Once we have agreed to start transition to a new license then we will
> have to work very hard to get as many people on board as possible,
> convince them to agree.
> We can, as Richard pointed out, surely argue our way through some
> things (minor edits that are not copyrightable etc). In those cases
> where we cannot reach the original mapper even though we have tried
> hard (sending one email is not enough), it might even be an option to
> document this process and assume the mapper is ok with relicensing
> unless he turns up later and says otherwise.

Ugh, and here I thought people in the FOSS world actually cared about 
proper use of licenses.

Here's one: why not proposing to put it all under a proprietary license, 
and also relicense the works of those that you can't get an answer 

> But in the end it will be a whole lot of work and we will all have to
> help. If, and the end of the whole process, we find that we'd have to
> remove half our data to be able to continue then the relicensing has
> clearly failed and must not be allowed to go on.

I understand you don't really know what will happen when the vote gets 
out, but I'd say that now is the time to get an idea? A plain simple 
question somewhere "Would you like to see OSM moving towards a new 
license? Yes, no, don't know, under certain conditions." At least we 
wouldn't just be blindly guessing what could or would happen...

> But I think there are many more things about the new license that
> warrant a good discussion and a close look; the "what happens to my
> data" question is, in my eyes, one of the less important points.

The new license may be the best thing since sliced bread, but that's 
really not my concern. I care about whether the database will still 
be "clean" after a possible change (meaning, properly licensed). If 
that can't be worked out there will certainly be no-one making use of 
OSM since it'd be a legal mess.


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