There is, of course, wasteful duplication of effort between the two communities: OpenStreetMap and Google MapMaker. That's a worldwide waste of effort, but there's been a few people pointing this out in relation to the Haiti Earthquake mapping. here and here and here. OpenStreetMap releases data with a sharealike license. Meanwhile Google MapMaker doesn't normally release their data at all, but in Haiti it is released with a non-commercial license. These license terms mean that neither community can import data from the other. Surely there is a solution that would mean all the data comes together on one place or the other? A solution would be for Google MapMaker to drop their non-commercial clauses. This is very do-able, but will google do it? Another solution would be for OpenStreetMap to go public domain in the Haiti region. This could be do-able, but...
Part of me recoils from the prospect of Google MapMaker importing OSM's Haiti data, and effectively claiming it as their own. We've done so well to steal a march on google and all other map providers, so that people are coming OpenStreetMap for the best map data of Haiti. It feels satisfying that all those misguided fools who contribute to the closed MapMaker system, are now looking jealously at OpenStreetMap haiti coverage. But of course we should put all such thoughts to one side at a time like this. As Mikel said on the topic"whatever can be done for the best benefit to the crisis response should be done". So let's think about what could be done.
We could try to ask every single contributor (and there are hundreds in Haiti now) if they would be willing to go PD on their contributions to this region. I think there could be quite a few who do not like the idea for the above reasons, and if we are unable to get agreement from everyone then there will be tricky untangling process to figure out which bits of the Haiti map can be taken, and which bits can't. This could be more complicated than simply extracting the bits edited by that group of users. If we take the idea of "derivative works" to Ordnance Survey style extremes (as is the convention within the OSM community for thinking about ''inputting'' any data) Then a lot of the map could be regarded as a derived work of a few contributors who mapped out some of the base streets.
All said and done, it could be a quite a hassle for OSM to step down to PD in this region. I don't think it's impossible, but it would require some significant motivated effort to engage all the contributors and get them on board, and maybe turning a blind eye on a few legal issues.
Another question though. What would it actually achieve? If google MapMaker was able to import our data then the MapMaker community would be able to continue contributing from a higher level of completion. Are all the OSM'ers who still want to build the map of Haiti going to go and join in over at MapMaker instead? I don't think so. So there would still be parallel mapping efforts. The main benefit perhaps would be to bring OSM data to MapMaker's downstream users, but who are these downstream users? and why aren't they using our resources? As I said in my blog post, I think the key thing at this stage is to get the word out about our great Haiti map resources, and get people using them.