[OSM-talk] Please review "Community attribution advice” wiki page

Joseph Eisenberg joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com
Sat Dec 5 01:50:00 UTC 2020

[This is the current text:]

This document is an attempt to summarize the expectations the OpenStreetMap
mapper community has for OSM data users regarding the attribution required
by the OpenStreetMap license.

In line with the general culture of OpenStreetMap it does not try to
provide step by step instructions on how to attribute but instead gives
advice on how the community views attribution and allows data users to meet
these expectations under their own responsibility.

Views within the OpenStreetMap mapper community on what kind of attribution
is or should be necessary vary slightly.  This advice in meant to describe
the consensus position in the sense that attribution designed based on this
advice will find a broad consensus among mappers to be acceptable.

== Why we require attribution ==

OpenStreetMap data is produced and maintained primarily by volunteer
mappers.  Data users do not need to provide any financial or other form of
remuneration to mappers for using their work - except attribution.
Attribution of use of OpenStreetMap data is the acknowledgement you need to
give to the mappers for the work they provide, which you are otherwise free
to use.  By doing so you express your respect and appreciation of the work
of millions of OpenStreetMap contributors that they allow you to freely
use, and help new volunteer mappers join the community for the benefit of
all database users. If your users do not know that OpenStreetMap is the
source of your data, they will not be able to fix mistakes and improve the
quality of the database. Not all OpenStreetMap mappers individually make
their contribution contingent on data users providing attribution but we
all expect this attribution to be provided by all data users as the
collective position of the whole mapper community based on which we have
chosen the license for our data.

== What we mean by attribution ==

What we understand attribution to mean is formally stated in [
https://opendatacommons.org/licenses/odbl/1-0/ section 4.3 of the ODbL]:

*"However, if you Publicly Use a Produced Work, You must include a notice
associated with the Produced Work reasonably calculated to make any Person
that uses, views, accesses, interacts with, or is otherwise exposed to the
Produced Work aware that Content was obtained from the Database, Derivative
Database, or the Database as part of a Collective Database, and that it is
available under this License."*

What we mean by this is that the criterion for a valid attribution is if it
effectively makes the user aware that OpenStreetMap data licensed under the
ODbL is used.  In case of an interactive map the widely used form of
attribution shown in one of the corners of the map can fulfill this
requirement when displayed at least in a size and prominence comparable to
other content displayed on the screen.  But it can also fail to do so if
displayed right next to a blinking ad catching all the user's attention,
for example.  It is the responsibility of those who publicly use
OpenStreetMap data to ensure the attribution fulfills its purpose and makes
the user aware of the provenience of the data.

You need to actively communicate this information to the user to meet these
requirements.  Merely making it available to users who are actively seeking
this information is not enough.

While we require you to attribute use of OpenStreetMap data we also want
you to only attribute OpenStreetMap for data which comes from our database
and not for any other geodata you might use in addition.  Therefore you
should be specific about what elements of your map or other work are based
on OpenStreetMap data in your attribution.

=== Interactive maps ===

In interactive applications of OpenStreetMap data, such as interactive
maps, it is accepted among mappers if the information about the nature of
the OpenStreetMap data license is provided through a link in contexts where
links are a generally expected method to provide more detailed
information.  The condition for this is that the medium of display allows
showing the information behind the link in a form readable for the user.
This condition needs to be considered in particular for applications that
are likely to be used offline.

The traditional form of attribution text in interactive online applications
is "© [https://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright OpenStreetMap contributors]"
with a link to https://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright.  This emphasizes
the above mentioned purpose of the attribution acknowledging the work of
the mappers.  The shortened "© OpenStreetMap" is typically also accepted
though some mappers prefer the longer and more specific version.

Note making the user aware does not require continuously nagging them about
it.  In a single user viewing situation it is perfectly all right - and in
some cases even desirable - to allow the user to hide the attribution after
seeing it. However, the attribution should not be automatically hidden
without action by the user

=== Non-interactive uses ===

In non-interactive use cases, like for example a printed map, in addition
to attributing the OpenStreetMap contributors, you must also inform the
user that the data is available under the ODbL.  Printing a link or a QR
code with the link is not sufficient.  One possible English language
attribution text for a map would be:

"Contains information from OpenStreetMap, which is made available at
openstreetmap.org under the Open Database License (ODbL)"

If you use other data in addition to OpenStreetMap you should specify the
scope of OpenStreetMap data use in the attribution.

== Concluding remarks ==

As an OpenStreetMap data user you might still be unsure how to specifically
design your OpenStreetMap attribution.  As long as you follow the
principles outlined above and make a honest and generous effort in meeting
the attribution requirement, and this way express your respect and
appreciation of the work of the mapper community, you will not run into
serious problems and community members will usually be glad to help you
with specific suggestions if necessary.  Be proud in using OpenStreetMap
data in communication with your users and the OpenStreetMap community will
be grateful and supportive.

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