[geo-discuss] switch2osm.org launched today

Laura Newman laura.newman at okfn.org
Thu Jan 26 14:49:28 UTC 2012

Hi all,

To briefly introduce myself, I'm Laura, a Community Coordinator with the

The OKFN has a long-standing relationship with OpenStreetMap and we very
much support your work - its great to have you on this list Harry!

I know that the issue surrounding Share-Alike licenses is highly
controversial, and tends to raise strong opinions. Within the OKFN, we
prefer to use CC-0 licenses on our own work. However, we do recognise that
other organisations have different needs, and the same licenses won't
necessarily work for everybody.

In general, we are happy to support all licenses which comply with the Open
Definition <http://opendefinition.org/>. @Harry, I will pass on your email
to my colleagues and see what we can do to aid your website launch.

@Vidar, the best place to have discussions about licenses is at our Open
Definition discussion mailing list. You can sign up to the list

I hope that helps - any questions do let me know!

Kind regards,

On Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 2:09 PM, Harry Wood <mail at harrywood.co.uk> wrote:

> Wow. That response was more negative than anything I had expected.
> You want to talk about geo-data licensing? I usually avoid the topic
> because frankly I'm sick of it. The OpenStreetMap mailing lists have been
> swamped by these debates for years now. Of course from an "open
> philosophy" point of view it's very important, so I guess it makes sense to
> bring it up here, but you'll find the same discussion gone over in a lot
> more details on the OpenStreetMap legal mailing list for example. In fact
> it sounds very much like you're repeating the rhetoric of people on those
> lists who deliberately try to de-rail the license change process we're
> currently undertaking, and undermine the hard work of a community of people
> who are giving open geo-data to the world.
> A lot of folks in the OpenStreetMap project would agree with you that the
> share-alike license is not ideal because it puts some people off using the
> maps, and ideally we would move to something more permissive, perhaps just
> to public domain. Right or wrong, this is not actually an option at this
> point. You talk about it as if a boardroom committee at OpenStreetMap inc.
> need to take this decision. There is no decision making body of
> OpenStreetMap who can decide to release the data under a different license,
> we have to collectively agree, and ask every single contributor to agree
> (thousands of them).
> The project *has* undertaken a process over many years now, of consulting
> with lawyers to set-up a better license, and slowly persuading and
> requesting to thousands contributors that they agree to this relicensing.
> This has been slow and painful enough, even though the new license is quite
> similar, still retaining the share-alike element. The new license is not
> worse. It's a approximately equal to the current license, but more
> enforceable in the EU where database directives apply. You *currently* have
> to share-alike data uses, except you *might* get away with not doing so via
> legal loopholes (if any of this ever went to court). The new license is
> clearer, though not perfect, and is a little more permissive regarding
> downstream uses.
> OKFN do some great work (with http://opendefinition.org/ ) helping to
> explain open licenses and things like share-alike requirements to laymen.
> With geo-data it's very complicated. The *spirit* of the OpenStreetMap
> license, is very much that people should feel free to use the data in new
> and interesting ways, just like any other open licensed project. OSM would
> like the support of OKFN to help get that message across.
> Your conclusion that the whole project is a problem is ridiculously
> extreme. I certainly I hope that isn't reflective of how other's in OKFN
> view OpenStreetMap.
> Harry Wood
> OpenStreetMap volunteer
>   ------------------------------
> *From:* Vidar Hokstad <vidar at hokstad.com>
> *To:* Harry Wood <mail at harrywood.co.uk>
> *Cc:* "geo-discuss at lists.okfn.org" <geo-discuss at lists.okfn.org>
> *Sent:* Wednesday, 25 January 2012, 22:57
> *Subject:* Re: [geo-discuss] switch2osm.org launched today
> The license makes OSM totally unusable to me and a lot of other people,
> and in fact I find it's existence a problem as it makes it pretty
> infeasible to get traction for truly open mapping.
> IMHO your section on licensing is also misleading, as the Open Database
> License makes this situation *worse* for most people by forcing people to
> share the underlying data too, not just the tiles, in situations where they
> might be deemed to have created derivative works. I know of several
> companies that will either be in violation of the license or be forced to
> open datasets they contractually can't open at that time if they keep using
> OSM.
> So count me as definitively not supportive of OSM as long as the license
> remains as restrictive as it is.
> Vidar
> _______________________________________________
> geo-discuss mailing list
> geo-discuss at lists.okfn.org
> http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/geo-discuss

Laura Newman
Community Coordinator
Open Knowledge Foundation
Skype: lauranewmanonskype
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