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OpenStreetMap - Das Lizenzdrama geht weiter

Posted Fri 07 Jun 2013 11:51:27 AM CEST in

Ich hatte es ja von Tag 1 an gesagt das ich die ODbL fuer komplett kaputt halte und man bitte einfach eine CC0 oder Public Domain Lizenz nehmen möge. Geodaten sind eine ganz andere Baustelle und GPL bzw "Share Alike" funktioniert da einfach nicht.

MapBox - mittlerweile einer der groesseren GeoDaten Firmen die im OSM Kosmos entstanden sind sieht jetzt auch das Problem kommen:

From: Alex Barth alex@mapbox.com Date: Thu, 6 Jun 2013 17:56:13 -0700 To: "Licensing and other legal discussions." legal-talk@openstreetmap.org

With two State of the Map conferences coming up now and plenty of opportunities for face time, I'd like to restart our conversation around clarifying the ODbL's implications for geocoding and get to a result. Over here at MapBox we're hoping to use OpenStreetMap soon as much as possible for geocoding (right now we don't) and we'd like to do this on firm legal ground. I know that others have raised similar questions in the past [1].

To quickly recap: the ODbL is unclear on whether or not its share alike stipulations extend to a dataset that is geocoded by a geocoder that is powered by ODbL data. So, if I use Nominatim or MapQuest Open's geocoder and geocode my vacation trip, schools in Kenya or BestBuy's store fronts, would my vacation trip, schools in Kenya or BestBuy's store fronts need to be licensed under the ODbL?

Over the past months, we've tried to get legal advice on this question. This is difficult as the lack of existing case law makes it hard to get official legal opinion on the document and the license is very complex. But here is what we have heard back informally:

  1. Geocoding can be interpreted as Produced Work per the defintion of Produced Work in the ODbL [2].
  2. The ODbL is too vague in the definition of its terms, requiring additional clarifications by licensor. This is most importantly the case around the terms "derivative database" and what constitutes a "substantial" extraction of data [3].

This is the gist of two different opinions and obviously they are somewhat conflicting. (2) is particularly an issue as the publicized guidelines [4] do not include clarifications on Geocoding.

To start this process at a concrete point, I'd like to suggest to adopt to following terminology as part of the Community Guidelines [4]:


Geocoding results in a Produced Work, as that term is defined in the ODbL. Section 4.5 provides that a Produced Work is not subject to the share-alike provisions of Section 4.4 of the ODbL.

This would broadly clarify that databases geocoded with OSM data would not have to be licensed under ODbL, the share alike provisions would not apply.

From a political standpoint, I think this is a key move for OpenStreetMap. The project needs a strong incentive to build up its most lacking asset - addressing. As long as it's not clear that addresses in OSM can actually be used reasonably this incentive will be missing. That's particularly an issue for businesses and organizations where buying whole sale into the ODbL is just not an option because of strategic considerations but much more often because of the complexity of ownership situations on typical databases. Further, ODbL is not just incompatible with less open licenses but also with more open licenses (e. g. public domain).

For the upcoming State of the Map US I'd like to invite attendees to a Birds of a Feather round table to discuss these aspects. I'm particularly interested in finding out how we can take a decision on this question and update the community guideline accordingly over the next month to three months. I (and others?) will be posting summaries of the discussion here.

Suggested date and time for the State of the Map US session: Saturday, June 8, 5PM Pacific - look out for confirmation on the white board.

Please also post your comments here on the thread.

Thank you,