OpenStreetMap Foundation, Licensing Working Group

  This is a DRAFT document and will change.

DMCA Take-down Procedure

As a matter of policy, the OSM Foundation voluntarily complies with the provisions of the United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 and has a registered agent.

The OSM Foundation and community respect the intellectual property rights of others. We respond to specific claims of copyright infringement by intellectual property owners or their approved agents provided that sufficient information is given.  We have documented procedure for making such claims here:

Our main point of first contact is our on-line filing page.

Purpose of this document

This document defines what happens after a claim is made. It serves as  ...

What we understand to be our responsibilities

The act itself can be found at and general orientation information can be found at

Chilling Effects also provides cited clarificatory text here:

Important points; text in italics are quotes from the Chilling Effects FAQ above:

Our Procedure Timeline

Work in progress! Requires input and review from Data Working Group. Also waiting some clarification by legal counsel.

In this text,

The text also assumes that the complaint is related to geodata in our database but the process is also applicable to general material published on our websites.

1) OSMF receives take-down notice

We will check the validity of the notice. This procedure will be limited to core DMCA issues, i.e. copyright infringement, and where valid information, such as contact details, is provided.

The take-down notice cannot be a vague claim that we have infringing material in our database. The provisions require the copyright owners to identify the copyrighted work, or a representative list of the copyrighted works, that is claimed to be infringed. [512(c)(3)(A)(ii)].

The complaint also has to come from the actual copyright holder or their agent, e.g. lawyer. If it does not, we are not bound by the DMCA procedure but will investigate what appear to be substantive claims further as we now have the knowledge that we have, at least potentially, infringing material on our system ([512(c)(1)(A)], [512(d)(1)(A)])

2a) OSMF removes or disables the alleged infringing material

We will remove or disable the specific instances of material alleged. We will make best effort to do this within 30 days or sooner.

Time Frame: This must be done in an “expeditious” manner. There is no statutory formal deadline but within 30 days or sooner is our target as a balance between being responsible and the availability and time of volunteers to do the work. Rationale: A UK court, (so not the same jurisdiction as DMCA), felt that five weeks was too long for Google to react in a libel case .


Note that in a recent case, ALS Scan, Inc. v. Remarq Communities, Inc., the court found that the copyright owner did not have to point out all of the infringing material, but only substantially all of the material. So, to be cautious, we may search for other material obviously likely to be infringing and remove that also.

2b) OSMF posts takedown notice

2c) OSMF notifies OSM Contributor of alleged infringement

We will send email to the OSM Contributor’s registered email address via a 0-hour block before or shortly after the material is removed.

Time Frame: This can optionally be done before the material is removed or disabled, but, once removed, must be done.

Template: TODO: Finish.

Blocking the OSM Contributor’s account will not be done, unless the Contributor re-uploads the infringing data. The Contributor may wish to file a counter-notice;

2d) OSMF notifies complainant of alleged infringement action

We will notify the complainant of the action taken and that the OSM Contributor has been notified. This is not a requirement but will be done as a courtesy and for transparency and the avoidance of doubt.

Time Frame: This does not appear to be a DMCA requirement.

Template: TODO: Finish.

2e) Repeat infringement?

We will check if the OSM Contributor is a repeat infringer and, at our careful discretion, may disable the contributor account permanently as per Contributor Terms. This will not be done until they have had time to file a counter-notice.

3) OSM Contributor may file a counter notice

A formal DMCA counter-notice may be filed by the OSM Contributor or by an interested third party.  A proper counter-notice must contain the following information:

Time Frame: This is up to the OSM Contributor and does not have to happen immediately.

4) OSMF informs complainant of the counter-notice

We will promptly inform the complainant that a counter-notice has been received, preferably via an email address provided in the original notice.

Time Frame:  “promptly”, implicitly well within 10 business days. Reference:

5) Restore the material

If the complainant does not notify us of the filing of a court restraint order within 14 business days, the OSMF must restore the material.

Time Frame:  THIS IS VERY TIGHT!!! Between 10 and 14 business days after receipt of the counter notice unless the complainant notifies OSMF that a court restraint order has been filed. Reference: