Licence/Licence and Legal FAQ

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The OpenStreetMap License

2009-2-26: The OSMF License Working Group is excited and pleased to announce the completion of legal drafting and review by our legal counsel of the new proposed license, the Open Database License Agreement (ODbL).

The working group have put much effort in to inputting OSMs needs and supporting the creation of this license however OpenStreetMap’s expertise is not in law. Therefore, we have worked with the license authors and others to build a suitable home where a community and process can be built around it. Its new home is with the Open Data Commons We encourage the OSM community join in the Open Data Commons comments process from today to make sure that the license is the best possible license for us.

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.

The license

The license is now available here and you are welcome to make final comments about the license itself via a wiki and mailing list also at here up until 20th March 23:59 GMT. To be clear, this process is led by the ODC and comments should be made there as part of that process.

Older versions:

Use Case Review

A number of Use Cases were submitted by the OpenStreetMap community and reviewed by legal counsel at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati acting on behalf of the OSM Foundation. Review comments are available as a PDF 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.

In summary, we’d like to give time for final license comments to be absorbed, ask OSMF members to vote 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 board has decided to wait until the final version before formally reviewing the license.

Our legal counsel has also responded to the OSM-contributed Use Cases and his responses have been added there. OSMFs legal counsel also recommends the use of the Factual Information License for the individual contributions from individual data contributors, and any aggregation covered by the ODbL.

Open Issues

There other open issues that we seek OSM community support and input on. If you would like to help, please give input here

For instance:

  • Who actually should be the licensor of the ODbL license?
  • The OSM Foundation is the logical choice but are there any alternatives?
  • And implementation What Ifs … for example, what if the license is not accepted?

Thank you for your patience with this process. The license working group looks forward to working with community input and an opening up of the process.