[OSM-talk] Terminate Facebook rights under ODbL

Christoph Hormann osm at imagico.de
Sun Jun 9 22:10:15 UTC 2019

To be clear:  I would very much welcome it if the board states that they 
welcome activities from the OSM community pushing organizational OSM 
data users for following the license and supporting people organizing 
pressure on them to do so.  But from past experience with board members 
articulating themselves on this kind of matter i would not expect much 
here though (but would be happy to be positively surprised).

One particular case i have pointed out on several occasions is the 
matter of second rate attributions.  A clear statement that if anyone 
is credited in any way for a map using OSM data OSM contributors need 
to be attributed with at least the same prominence and visibility would 
be immensely helpful.  Clear statements are important because nothing 
is more annoying than data users attempting to weasel around 
attribution requirements.  In my experience when contacting data users 
about insufficient attribution at least 2/3 of the communication is 
dealing with petty attempts at bargaining for less attribution.

> I don't know what your position is in these matters; but
> actually cataloguing license violations, sending the appropriate
> legal nastygrams to the appropriate legal entities in the appropriate
> countries and all that, is certainly something that can occupy one
> employee full time - an employee where the OSMF would likely depend
> on corporate members like Facebook to pay their salary. So we have to
> be careful with what we demand from the OSMF.

That publishing something on the internet inevitably results in people 
ripping you off (including in particular big corporations and 
organizations) and that you can spend more time (and could possibly 
even make more money) pursuing such than by actually producing things 
is essentially a fact of life.

The situation for OSM is a bit different though since allowing others on 
a large scale to ignore the ODbL essentially nullifies the social 
contract of OSM and leads to the project loosing contributors (all 
those who consider their contributions to be contingent to attribution 
and share-alike being given back to them by data users).

I think making sure that this does not happen should be done through 
volunteer work but the OSMF could do quite a lot without investing a 
lot of work to support this simply by making clear that the OSMF stands 
firmly behind any OSM community members who act on such cases (in a 
friendly and supportive way to first time offenders but with firm 
pressure on unregenerate repeat offenders).

There are tons of very simple things the OSMF could do to to indicate 
their support.  Removing data users with no proper attribution from


for example.

No one should underestimage the amount of pressure the OSM community 
could put on large data users who don't abide by the license.  I 
already indicated this is pure theory but how long do you think it 
would take Facebook to become a model ODbL data user if all active OSM 
contributors would

* cease using Facebook
* stop any cooperation with Facebook within the project
* revert any edits made by mappers working for Facebook or for projects 
being financed by Facebook?

IMO ultimately key is that everyone internalizes that being lenient on 
sustained license violations is not a way to support adoption of OSM as 
a data source but primarily a way to alienate huge parts of the 
contributor base.

Christoph Hormann

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