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

Tobias Knerr osm at tobias-knerr.de
Fri Mar 1 20:42:22 UTC 2019

On 28.02.19 23:35, Richard Fairhurst wrote:
> The policy, introduced with the changeover to the ODbL, says:
> "We require that you use the credit “© OpenStreetMap contributors”...
> For a browsable electronic map, the credit should appear in the corner
> of the map."

As you seem to remember what was going on at the time, maybe this is an
opportunity to get an answer to a question that I've raised back in
2012, but (iirc) never got a response to: Who made the decision to add
this requirement to the copyright page?


I don't perceive off-map attribution as a recent trend: This style of
OSM attribution was reasonably popular even back then, especially in
mobile apps. And I don't remember any widespread calls for restrictions
on the practice. In fact, the only mailing list discussion I recall is
the one linked above, which had barely any participants: Three people
questioning the then-recent change¹, and no one showing up to explain or
defend it.

So while I would agree that it's important for data users to respect the
community's policies, it's not yet clear to me that these highly
specific requirements on attribution placement did originate with the
community in the first place.

> a) we are happy for attribution to be behind a credits screen and we
> will update our requirements to say so

This is my personal preference, but I would still require equal
prominence with other brands. Showing "Mapbox"² on-map, but moving OSM
elsewhere, does not feel fair.

Especially in situations where a data user does make other efforts to
put OSM in the spotlight – e.g. by telling the user about OSM during map
downloads or through a long-lived, or interactive, splash screen – I
believe we should not insist on the corner placement.


¹ the rest of the thread is split off due to happening in a different
month: https://lists.osm.org/pipermail/legal-talk/2012-December/007363.html
² My intention isn't to single out Mapbox here, that's simply the
example that's already been used in this thread.

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