[OSM-talk] Draft Trademark Policy

Jochen Topf jochen at remote.org
Fri Aug 4 16:07:24 UTC 2017

On Fri, Aug 04, 2017 at 04:37:23PM +0200, Simon Poole wrote:
> > * Section 2.1 forbids anything called something like "OpenThingMap".
> >   This form of name is very popular, there are numerous existing
> >   examples (OpenPOIMap, OpenTopoMap, OpenSeaMap, ...) Do all of these
> >   have to change their names?
> Yes and this is one of the big sore points, but we are not asking most
> of them to change there name, just to get licensed/permission in some
> form. To show why: there used to be an OSM based project called

I think it is totally unrealistic to expect hobby projects based on OSM
to ask for permission. I see three likely outcomes:

* Most people will not know about the policy or they don't care and
  they might choose a name that doesn't follow the policy. It takes a
  while for OSMF to find out about this, get organized, and ask for a
  license application or a name change. By that time the people are
  already attached to their name. This will generate bad blood, not
  to mention what you are going to do if the people ignore OSMF.

* People who know about the policy choose a name that doesn't violate
  the trademark policy. But they are outsiders now. They will avoid
  to even mention OSM, they will not feel as part of the community
  any more. We have always argued that everybody who does something
  with OSM is part of the community, you don't have to be an OSMF
  member, you don't have to have your service running on OSMF servers.
  This great eco-system is in jeopardy if you alienate all those

* You scare people away from doing anything OSM-related because they
  don't know and understand what they are allowed to do and what not.

I can tell you that I will certainly not apply for a license/permission
for any of my hobby projects. In the worst case license means lawyers
and money, in the best case it means I have signed something that
promises I behave in certain ways. What if I do something unwittingly
that oversteps the permission in that license I got. What if I change a
website I got the license for in some way, do I have to get re-licensed?
Sure, all those things are less problematic in reality than they are
in the real world. But for a hobby project I don't need this. And there
is always something down the line that comes back to bite you. Some of
my projects have Debian packages for instance, which for many years
called their "Firefox" package "Iceweasel" because of Mozillas trademark
policy. (They recently switched back to the name "Firefox", I don't
know what changed.)

And again the question of the practicality of all this: Even if people
have to get licenses and actually do, we are looking at at least
several hundreds of projects (There are nearly 3000 repositories on
Github that have "openstreetmap" in their name or description).
Can the OSMF even handle this?

Jochen Topf  jochen at remote.org  https://www.jochentopf.com/  +49-351-31778688

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