[OSM-talk] We need to have a conversation about attribution

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemed.net
Fri Mar 1 09:21:14 UTC 2019

Mikel Maron wrote:
> We may not like that reality, but that's the underlying legal situation. 
> We can certainly recommend a better way. And that recommendation
> can only be formulated through the OSMF; a mailing list discussion 
> will not lead to a legal decision, though it's an interesting pulse on 
> the topic. afaik the LWG is actually thinking about updating the 
> guidance to modern day usage, and welcome that effort. 

How this works in practice (and I realise you know this, Mikel, I'm just
writing this out for the wider audience) is that the Licensing Working Group
puts together Community Guidelines: 


These, as the name implies, represent the settled will of the community
through practical, example-rich guidelines, explaining how the Open Database
Licence applies to the data that the community has created and owns the
rights in.

As the Community Guidelines page on the OSMF website says, "OSMF's role as
Licensor and publisher of the database should not involve dictating policy."

The existing (seven) guidelines focus on the applications of the sharealike
half of the licence. There is clearly some ambiguity about how attribution
is applied in practice, particularly in massive collective databases and in
smaller-screen situations, and such ambiguities is exactly what the
guidelines are intended for - "helping folks use OpenStreetMap data when
there is a concern about ambiguity or grey area in the specific and
practical context of the Open Database License, ODbL" to quote the LWG.

Representing the "settled will of the community" through a guidelines
requires determining the settled will. As the page on the Community
Guidelines process explains
such guidelines can be proposed by the community (no kidding, Sherlock). By
starting the discussion here, we can begin to ascertain what the community
would want to see in a Community Guideline.


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