[OSM-talk] Draft Trademark Policy

Simon Poole simon at poole.ch
Fri Aug 4 17:07:47 UTC 2017

On 04.08.2017 18:07, Jochen Topf wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 04, 2017 at 04:37:23PM +0200, Simon Poole wrote:
>> 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:
It obviously wasn't to complicated and required lawyers to register the
domain names in the first place and as the FAQ says we are only asking
for the domainnames to be de-registered or given to the OSMF when they
are no longer used for OpenStreetMap related purposes.
> * 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
>   people.
> * 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.

Sorry but that is hyperbole, after the 13 years of OSM the number of
domains affected amounts to something between 30 and 40., not 100s. The
policy is rather clear on what is allowed and what not, and if there are
further questions we can address that in the FAQs.
> 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
Why would we be interested in the names of github repos/projects? We are
mainly interested in use of our marks in commerce and similar/related
activities and registrations that convey exclusive rights (domain and
company names etc).,


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