Is OSM license failing ?

Posted by Pieren on 5 October 2012 in English (English)

The recent iOS6 "plans" story is telling me that our license, the old CC-By-SA and the new ODbl, is failing. When we read the attributions on "Plans", we can see that OSM is the last of a long list of other sources. But nobody is able to say what comes from where. Because OSM has been recently mentionned as a new source for Apple iPhoto, the crappy "Plans" has been often commented as a result of using the crappy OSM project. Even the foundation had to publish a blog explaining that OSM is not responsible for the disaster. But it is too late. Now, worldwide, the impact on the OSM reputation is highly negative after this story. This would have been different if our license did require the attribution directly on the screen and only on areas really using OSM data.

Comment from Vincent de Phily on 5 October 2012 at 14:28

I do not think that the damage to OSM's reputation is that great. I have seen very few comments pointing to OSM as the cause of Plan's crappynes. Most complains point directly to Apple instead of the data providers, or point to issues which are not data-related.

The OSM attribution is last in a long list which you have to actively look for. Most people do not know any of the data providers listed here (or even know what a "map data provider" might be). Anybody saying that the Plans debacle is rooted in its use of OSM probably had a grudge against OSM to begin with. In that context, I don't think that the clearer attibution you suggest would make any difference.

As a mapper, I'd love to know precisely where my work is used. But I'm affraid that making that a requirement would be too burdensome for most users of data mashups. I'd say Apple (and others) would not have used OSM at all if that was the case. So the current attribution guidelines are a good compromise, I think.

Comment from !i! on 5 October 2012 at 14:52

As Vincent, I don't see a huge problem for our reputation by the use for IOS6 maps.

But the current attribution lacks in multiple ways. I agree with you Vincent, that it should be keepted easy and that companies shouldn't be enforced to show all attribution all the time. But on the other hand an enduser has to be easily enabled to make use of his rights on our work (free copy, extraction, ...). Therefore at least there should be a checkbox, that shows the attribution of the current map view. Sorry but this are the problems of mixing data with different licenses...

Comment from dieterdreist on 5 October 2012 at 15:28

I agree with Pieren, and I extend the critics: it seems to be a license infringement not to quote the license of the data (this is a requirement of both, cc-by-sa and ODbL). Also the wording does not contain a "copyright" or © sign, so our data contribution to their maps is basically quoted as if it was PD.

If the current licensing terms are a problem for mashups then this could be addressed by the mechanisms that the CTs installed: a vote by 2/3 of the active contributors. Nobody, not even the board of the OSMF, has the right to change the license (or sublicense under different terms) by other means.

Comment from Sanderd17 on 6 October 2012 at 20:14

I agree with !i!. Our reputation is not in danger. Even in Germany they are complaining about the maps, while everyone knows that the German maps are almost perfect.

I also agree with !i! that we do have lost some other rights though, such as exporting the data, or even checking if we are allowed to use the data. Also, if data gets mixed, everything should be provided under ODBL. But there is no way we are able to check that this happens. Apple can be mixing data without us knowing.

@dietrdreist, you shoud know that mentioning "copyright" does not change anything. Everything is always considered as copyrighted. Not mentioning "copyright" doesn't make it PD. But on the other side, not linking to our terms makes it private data, which infringes the license on the other side. Unless you assume that every user is smart enough to find the correct license when he only has the name of our project. So that's debatable.

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