Licence/About The Licence Change

From OpenStreetMap Foundation

About The OpenStreetMap License Change

The OpenStreetMap project is proposing to move to a new license, known as the Open Database License (ODbL) which would replace the existing CCBYSA license due to problems with the CCBYSA license when applied to data. The license is intended to clarify the terms under which people make contributions to the project and the terms under which people can use the data. It is a basically a share alike license for data.

The proposed license has been developed by OpenDataCommons a project of the Open Knowledge Foundation.

The Foundation supports the adoption of this license and has reviewed it with their lawyers.

The initial change over phase has begun in March 2010. New contributors are being asked to license their data under both the new and old license during a transitional period. We will then begin asking existing contributors to re-license their contributions under the new license. Once a critical mass has been achieved, the old license will no longer be used on the current database. Prior copies of the database will be continue to be available under CC BY SA as long as there is demand.

The Foundation's License Working Group presented a proposal document to the members, who accepted it by vote in December 2009. A summary was also presented at the State Of The Map 2009 conference. This process is documented here. We also welcome any review and comment by other bodies working in the open intellectual properties rights arena, and have published an open letter asking for their views.

The proposed license comes in two parts. One, the Open Database License (ODbL) covers the database itself and, and a set of upgraded Contributor Terms covers the content of the database.

The license remains firmly rooted in the attribution, share-alike provisions of the existing Creative Commons License but the ODbL is far more suitable for open factual databases rather than the creative works of art. It extends far greater potential protection and is far clearer when, why and where the share-alike provisions are triggered. There are further reasons for moving away from CC BY-SA here.

Acceptance and Implementation Process

We have a proposed adoption plan. This is not cast in stone and we welcome direct comments on the discussion page for the plan.

OSMF members have voted on whether they wish to put the current version of the new license to the community for adoption and then begin the adoption process itself. The results from 270 members polled are:

Approved the process: 132
Did not approve the process: 16
Didn't vote: 122


Approval rate: 89%
Turnout rate: 55%

Personal statements from community members making the case for and against the change are available on the OSM wiki. For the full details of the voting results, see member vote results.

More information

More information including use cases and open issues is available on the OSM wiki.