[OSM-talk] Attribution guideline status update

Christoph Hormann osm at imagico.de
Fri Aug 9 13:56:37 UTC 2019

On Friday 09 August 2019, Richard Fairhurst wrote:
> > It does not in any way address the problem of second rate
> > attribution (i.e. someone else - usually the service provider of
> > the map service or the media outlet publishing the map) is being
> > attributed more prominently than OSM.
> That is not something that the ODbL requires. There are licences with
> an obnoxious advertising clause but ODbL isn't one.
> "Second rate attribution" is not a problem. [...]

Just for understanding what second rate attribution is:  For example the 
map on the bottom right of:


printing a prominent "Zeit Online" below the map (self attribution) but 
showing OSM attribution only on user activity.

> But you can't start requiring that "the OpenStreetMap attribution
> needs to be at least on the same level of
> prominence and visibility as... other data providers, designers,
> service providers or publicists", because that's not in the ODbL.

It is a community guideline - a recommendation of the community on how 
to work with OSM data to comply with the license.  No data user has to 
follow the guideline - the only binding document is the license itself.  
The purpose of the guideline is to give practical guidiance how to 
comply with the license.  The Guidelines should never suggest something 
that would violate the license (like as mentioned the 50 percent rule) 
but it can of course suggest things that are not strictly required by 
the license.  And saying "if you attribute in this way that is 
perfectly fine with the community" is useful even if "this way" goes 
beyond the minimum requirements of the license.

And i also think rejecting second rate attribution is perfectly in line 
with and supported by the "reasonably calculated" requirement of the 
ODbL since with a significantly less prominent attribution of OSM 
compared to other attributions given this is less the case.  In the 
case linked to above for example removing the "Zeit Online" would 
increase the likelihood that a page visitor - when asked - could 
correctly identify the map source because they would be more likely to 
look under the 'i' than if they have the obvious other explanation (map 
produced by Zeit Online out of thin air) being presented as the 
simplest answer.

> Your point 2 is objecting to something I wrote in 2012 when I was
> editing a magazine about inland waterways and has been on
> osm.org/copyright ever since, so nope. :)

You are free to disagree with me but i hope you do not consider this 
statement to be an argument on the matter.

For better understanding:  Point 2 refers to a certain pattern in the 
design of the document and lists a number of example to demonstrate 
that.  You could argue the observation of there being such a pattern or 
you could argue the individual examples.  You however did neither of 
these in your statement.

Christoph Hormann

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