OpenStreetMap Foundation

Licensing Working Group

  Tuesday 7th May 2013

18:00 - 18:50 UTC

Agenda & Minutes


Present:  Simon Poole, Dermot McNally, Michael Collinson

Apologies: Oliver

Minutes by: Michael

1. Adoption of Minutes of last meeting

Note: This editable minute link is for LWG members only. A public version is normally available at

Proposed: Dermot

Seconded: Simon



2. MATTERS ARISING (open action items from previous meetings)

  • Richard will put the word out for new volunteers via CWG. 
  • Mike to contact Henk re Apple situation

3. Finalise today's agenda

4. Statement on OSM data solely for verification purposes (Mike)

LWG position is that this is OK provided that we do not not create any loop-hole for copying/derivative databases.

Mike will copy the following to our formal FAQ:

Can I use OSM data and OpenStreetMap-derived maps to verify my own data without triggering share-alike?

Yes, provided that you are only comparing and do not copy any OpenStreetMap data.  If you make any changes to your data after making the comparison, you should be able to reasonably demonstrate that any such change was made either from your own physical observation or comes from a non-OpenStreetMap source accessed directly by you. I.e you can compare but not take!

Example 1: You notice that a street is called one name on your map and another in OpenStreetMap. You should visit the street and check the name, then you are free to put that name in your data as it is your own observation.

Example 2: You notice that a boundary is different in your data and OpenStreetMap.  You should check back to original authoritative sources and make any correction required.

5 DbCL Content License for ODbL

We have a DbCL reference in our contributor terms (*) but not on our copyright page.

* Clause 3:  “OSMF agrees that it may only use or sub-license Your Contents as part of a database and only under the terms of one or more of the following licences: ODbL 1.0 for the database and DbCL 1.0 for the individual contents of the database; ...”

Mike will action the following changes:

We clarify the role of the DbCL in our ODbL licensing as follows:

1) As per, we will modify with the following text:

“OpenStreetMap is open data, licensed under the Open Database License: [Any rights in individual contents of the database are licensed under the Database Contents License:]

2) We will add the following to

Why the separate DbCL license for the contents?

This is explained formally at the ODBL FAQ OpenStreetMap is a a homogeneous database, (No need to distinguish “Database” + “Contents” because there are no independent rights in the “Contents”. Users basically need pay attention only to the provisions of the ODbL itself.  For the OSMF, it provides a mechanism to potentially modify end user license terms in the future as laid out in our contributor terms.”

6. The legal side of the MapBox "attribution mark" proposal (Simon)

Some links summarizing discussion:

The proposal boils down to three issues for LWG input:

1) The replace of the credit “© OpenStreetMap contributors” or similar with a visual mark, currently a graphically stylised “BY OSM”.

Is this “legally” valid, for at least the Berne Convention? Does it fit the requirements for attribution and exertion of copyright. Simon to talk to legal counsel.

2) A revamp of with (draft)

Apart from issue (1), does it still say what we want it to say and does it have the right focus, (it is after all a formal copyright page)?

Comments: Visually appealing page is a great idea, however, it is trying to be two pages at once. Too much gap at the top when first clicking on the link, not clear that there is text on the page!  The soft information “Local Knowledge” and “Community Driven” at the top should be moved to the bottom; “copyrighty” stuff MUST be prominent. The text for data, cartography and use of our tiles should be clearly separated to avoid confusion.  The link to legal FAQ, preferably the one at, needs to go back.

Mike: Make sure comments go where they need to go

3) We do not have any formal “OSM” trademarks related to the new mark.

Are there other trademarks that might overlap? Simon to talk to legal counsel.

7. Geocoding

Still need to define what geocoding really it is.

8. AOB

  • Documents for the transfer of the European trademarks have been signed by Steve and are on their way to the UK lawyers for the transfer to be registered.

Next Meeting:

Next meeting: Tuesday 21st May at 18:00 GMT/UTC (Mike will confirm whether this clashes with Management Team meeting).