[odc-discuss] Copyright status of OSM map data

Ed Avis eda at waniasset.com
Thu Dec 15 16:38:48 UTC 2011

Hi, I know that the ODbL licence was designed with some input from members of the
OpenStreetMap project.  A particular concern was making a licence that would
enforce share-alike provisions even in the absence of copyright.  You may be
interested in the results of legal research commissioned to look at whether
copyright does cover the OSM map data, and so whether this approach is necessary
in the particular case of OSM.

The results of the research in the USA are at


and some background information can be found starting at


The broad conclusion is that OSM data does fall within copyright, even in the US.
I would also be happy to share the full report (which deals with OSM and the
ODbL specifically) with anyone who would like to see it.

Later, I hope to discuss these findings and their implications for the design
of a future version of the ODbL.

Ed Avis <eda at waniasset.com>

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