OpenStreetMap Foundation

Licensing Working Group

  This document has been submitted to the board of the OSMF.

Role of LWG in 2013 and beyond

This is our action plan for 2013.   As LWG has now completed the main goal it was set up to do, this plan also presents what our general remit should be.

This document will be submitted to the board of OSMF for comment and endorsement.

In 2013, we expect to play a license maintenance role LWG and to be “educational” in helping people in and outside the OSM community understand our license and working to clarify issues raised.   In addition, we propose beginning to explore taking OSMF to be a more outward-looking organisation within the arena of promoting free and open geospatial data licensing.

“Licensing” or “Legal” working group? We propose staying as “Licensing” to reinforce that though there are many general legal tasks to do, the promotion of open geospatial data through practical, coherent and clear licensing should remain number one priority.

Scope / Role of the Working Group within OSMF

Goals / Direction for 2013 and beyond

Our goals for 2013 are highlighted in coloured bold.

Below is our list of required and potential activities for 2013 and beyond. As an all volunteer body, the scope and depth of our activities is highly dependent on the availability and the personal interests of our members. We have picked items in bold to focus our activities on. We also welcome members of the OSMF and of the OSM community to join us as associate members if you have an interest in one particular area or project.

Reactive Support (things we have “got” to do)

1. Coordinate with and support DWG on DMCA take-downs and any third-party claims that OSM is violating their copyright. Ensure that the procedure is transparent and well-documented publicly.

2. Act on any community claims that third-parties are abusing OSM data. We will continue informing incidental / accidental / ignorant violators and assisting them in prompt compliance.  We will look at the Free Software Foundation model of having an outside organisation,, to "police" violations and whether it makes sense for us to encourage.

3. Support board activity in protecting relevant intellectual property (trademarks, design) and create a policy for use and licensing of such to third parties.

Proactive Activity

1. Educational: Misunderstandings over our license.

2.  One-off reviews of our procedures and public documentation with regard to:

3. Work on promoting and making coherent Community Norms. These broadly centre around better defining when share-alike is triggered to promote more use within commercial, government and academic communities using mixed data sources.  Starter issues are geocoding and what used to be "trivial transformation", e.g. if you re-cast but do not add physical observations to data, such as for game internals, do you have to share the data.

4. Review of (3) and anything else we have learned.  As pioneer adopters of share-alike licensing specifically for databases and data, we have learnt a lot, let us share it outside OSM. And ... do we need an ODbL 1.1, or better, how far can we go without such a big step?

5. Move from being an inward looking working group to being an outward one, promoting open geospatial data.  OSMF is an international organisation and should therefore interact with international organisations. Targets are:

6. While our main focus will be international, we invite and welcome individuals to join us temporarily to work on particular national issues regarding the opening up of geospatial data. See Note 2.

Note 1: HOT has established, active relationships with a majority of UN agencies, international NGOs, etc. LWG would take on a role of promoting a "default" use of open licensing rather than case-by-case access to geospatial data, especially high resolution satellite imagery. LWG would need to coordinate carefully with HOT.

Note 2: (6) is an area where we may consider requesting budget to attend conferences and meetings.

Rough Budget

Aside from the unknown of major legal attack by commercial companies, this is what we see as our maximum likely spending during calendar 2013.

Trademark registrations        US$20,000

Un-redacting tool                US$ 3,000

Conferences x 4                  US$ 4,000 (one person per conference)

Contingency for legal aid     US$ 1.000