[MVLUG] OpenStreetMap contrubitor terms change

Samat K Jain lists at samat.org
Tue May 31 14:23:25 MDT 2011

On Monday, May 30, 2011 10:56:13 AM Paul Rotering wrote:
> Have you seen anything sinister in the new contributor terms for
> openstreetmap?  I've skimmed them and it looks pretty innocuous to me.
> Of course, IANAL.

Short answer: no.

Long answer: it's complicated. Many are unhappy with the new license, the new contributors' terms, or both. At this time, I've personally voted against the change, though I will change my vote to a yes in the future ("no" is safe, you can change your mind; you cannot change your mind with a "yes" vote).

If you really don't care at all, tick the "public domain" checkbox and click "yes".

Some of the issues are discussed on the wiki (also see the talk/discussion page):


Background for others on the ML: OpenStreetMap originally used the Creative Commons 2.0 license for data. Unfortunately, CC 2.0 has many legal problems associated with it when applied to data, which has prevented many entities (i.e. corporations) from using it. It also has license compatibility problems (want to include OpenStreetMap data in a Debian package? Nope — can't do that!). Second problem: OpenStreetMap as-is provides no mechanism to switch to a new license. Hence the desire to switch to a new license (the ODbL, the Open Database License) and new contributors' terms giving the OSM Foundation (owner of servers, etc) more power as caretakers.

It's a very, very big mess.

Samat K Jain <http://samat.org/> | GPG: 0x4A456FBA

I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when looked at in the right way, did not become still more complicated.
-- Poul Anderson (500)

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