[OSM-talk] Voluntary re-licensing begins

Mike Collinson mike at ayeltd.biz
Thu Aug 12 09:18:54 BST 2010

As promised, and long awaited, the next phase of the OSM License Upgrade has arrived. Phase 2 - Existing Contributor Voluntary Re-licensing  [1]  has begun, and you may indicate your acceptance of the new Contributor Terms for your existing OSM API account.  To accept the terms visit http://openstreetmap.org/user/terms, (you may be asked to login first), or your user settings page. 

Please note that OpenStreetMap is not changing the license on any published data at this point.  Existing contributors are being asked to permit re-licensing of their data in the future when it makes sense to do so.

There is no decline button, and no obligation to answer yet.  Existing Contributor Voluntary Re-licensing is for those who wish to accept the terms and get on with mapping.  

We'll be publishing which users have accepted so that we can all see the progress in terms of users and re-licensed data.

We hope that you will accept the new Contributor Terms [2] and ODbL for each of your user accounts if you have more than one.

** Why are we doing it like this? **

What ifs, what ifs. The key is clearly to reduce these. Those that simply want to get on mapping and accept that we won't doing anything daft, can sign up.    Those that are worried about data loss and that the OSMF will make a stupid decision,  can wait and see.  We'll show how much of the database is potentially covered by the ODbL. We've got some help on modelling that, and we'll aim for at least a weekly update if not daily. We'll also make all the data available needed to calculate that, so if you want to try a different metric or just see what is happening in your local area, everything will be transparent.

If you support the share-alike concept, I urge you to accept the new Contributor Terms which provides for a coherent Attribution, Share-Alike license written especially for databases.  If you are a Public Domain license supporter, we are divided as a community on which is best and I do urge you to give this one a good try.  The Contributor Terms are expressly written to allow us to come back in future years and see what is best  without all this fuss about procedure.  And if you'd just really like all this hoo-haa to go away and get back to mapping, well, please say yes.

** Some supporting notes:  **

() The key thing is that there are about 12,500 contributors who have contributed over 98% of the pre-May data.

() I personally really, really want to get a coherent license in place so that my mapping efforts are more widely used. I also really, really don't want us as a community to shoot ourselves in the head and divide.  I pledge to continue working with *both* objectives in mind.

() The License Working Group will not recommend switching over the license if data loss is unreasonable [3]. We will issue a formal statement to that effect and are attempting to define better what "unreasonable" means. A totally quantitative criteria is extremely difficult to define ahead of actually seeing what specific problems may arise. But I understand the concern that we are tempted to do something wild.

() The License Working Group will ask the OSMF board to issue a similar statement.

() We are working to create a process whereby we can model on a regular basis how much of the OSM database is covered by ODbL and how much not.  We will make all the data needed to do that public so that anyone can analyse using their own metrics. Work on this is active and being discussed on the dev mailing list. You will need:

- An ordinary planet dump.
- Access to history data. A public 18GB "history dump" is available http://planet.openstreetmap.org/full-experimental/full-planet-100801.osm.bz2.  The intent is to make this available on a regular basis with difffs. A full re-generation takes several days.
- A list of userids of who has and has not accepted the license. Work in progress. 

() A final vote on whether to switch or not remains an option. But let us see first if "data loss" really is an issue and what the specific problems might be.

Regards to all,
License Working Group 

[1] http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Open_Database_License/Implementation_Plan#PHASE_2_-_Existing_Contributor_Voluntary_Re-licensing_.28started_10th_August_2010.29

[2] The new Contributor Terms:

http://www.osmfoundation.org/wiki/License/Contributor_Terms_Summary  - Summary

http://www.osmfoundation.org/wiki/License/Contributor_Terms - Full text and links to translations

[3] https://docs.google.com/View?id=dd9g3qjp_76gwvhpcx3 License Working Group minutes, see Item 7 
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