Open Data License/Why You Should Decline

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If you decline the request to re-license your contributions under ODbL, all your contributions will continue to be available under CC-BY-SA in historical exports (after a transition period) and these may continue to be actively maintained by other projects. There is no compulsion to accept the OSM Contributor Terms.

The following is a copy of earlier arguments against relicensing.

Statements in English

Cannot import CC BY-SA licensed external data sets

Main article: Cannot import CC BY-SA licensed data Two people have expressed concern about the possible loss of data which has come from CC-BY-SA sources. These are both quoted in this section and a page has been created to explore the issue in more detail.

"I am very concerned at the loss of data which will occur in some areas - particularly in Australia - when data which cannot be relicensed is removed. We have imported large amounts of data from government sources, which are on CC-by-SA licence. This has allowed us to put data on the map which has otherwise been impossible to do with a small number of mappers and a huge area to cover. I believe that there is a critical mass of data which is licensed CC-by-SA in the database and that the wholesale removal of this data noted in "Stage 4 - Remove all data from those who do not respond or respond negatively (the hard bit)" is going to either kill OSM in some areas or result in the project forking.

-- Drlizau 11:03, 5 December 2009

"If we change to ODbL with the proposed Contributor Terms, we will no longer be able to import CC-BY or CC-BY-SA data without the copyright holders agreeing to those terms. The proposed benefit of ODbL, that derived databases will have to be made available, will be rendered useless as we won't be able to use the derived databases in OSM unless they agree to the terms, and anyone doing that will likely have released the data under CC-BY-SA.

-- Comment added by User:Doctau - 12:28, 5 December 2009

Click for a discussion of this point which is not disputed. See discussion.

OSM's Contributor Terms are not compatible with ODbL

Consider the following scenario:

  1. X takes a copy of the OSM data
  2. X adds new data to it
  3. X publishes it under ODbL as a derived database ... fine so far ...
  4. Y receives a copy of the database from X
  5. Y cannot add the new data to OSM because of the Contributor Terms

Only X who is the copyright owner of the derived database can agree to the contributor terms. Y is not the owner and cannot grant "a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable license to do any act that is restricted by copyright" to the data.

-- Comment added by User:80n 19:08, 5 December 2009

Click for a discussion of this point which is disputed.

The OSM Foundation will have unlimited rights to all your data

The Contributor Terms require you to give OSMF unlimited rights to do whatever they want with your data.

Specifically you are required to make "a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable license to do any act that is restricted by copyright" grant of your data to OSMF.

The contributor terms then try to limit that by saying that they will only license it under ODbL. But then they add a get-out clause that allows it to be changed subject to a vote.

It would be relatively easy for a large organisation to take over OSMF and make enought contributions to influence such a vote. It's not likely to happen in the near future but as the value of OSM's data grows the Foundation could become a very tempting target. There are insufficient safeguards in place.

-- Comment added by User:80n 19:08, 5 December 2009

Click for discussion of this point which is disputed.

The current license is not broken

The proponents of ODbL argue that the current license is not suitable for data. This rests on the premise that your contributions are just facts with no creative effort and facts are not protected by normal copyright. While this is a matter for the courts it is far from proven that contributions are not protected by copyright.

Click for discussion of this point which is disputed.

Even if the current licence is less strong than it could be, there is no evidence it causes any problem in practice

Additionally, there have been no documented cases of any organisation abusing OSM's data by using the argument that it is not protected by copyright.

The license appears to be working extremely well in practice and so does the whole project.

-- Comment added by User:80n 19:19, 5 December 2009

To elaborate: Suppose someone derives data from OSM CC-BY-SA and then claims full ownership of the derived data. He/she would want to be able to defend his ownership, including when his/her clients discovers that his data is derived from OSM. Suing his/her clients will not only be very expensive, it will also damage his/her brand. Furthermore, the news will motivate the OSM community to look for legal ways of obtaining equivalent data. -- Nic 17:03, 28 August 2010 (BST)

ODbL is unproven

The ODbL license is brand new. There are very few real world uses of it and it has not been tested in court.

It is a complex license that relies on a combination of copyright law, database law and contract law. Like complex software it is likely to have bugs. And like complex software that has not been tested it is very likely to have bugs.

The value of OSM's data is too high to risk to a brand new untested license.

-- Comment added by User:80n 19:19, 5 December 2009

Click for discussion of this point which is disputed.

Even if the new licence is better, the cost of switching is too high

If any contributor doesn't agree to the new licence, their contributions (and work derived from those) will be deleted from the database. The exact number of people affected is a matter for debate, but certainly there will be some. The purported benefits from moving to a new licence do not outweigh even a 5% loss of contributors to the project. People, not data or licences, are OSM's most important resource.

-- Comment added by User:Ed Avis 12:30, 7 December 2009

300.000 contributors verus about 150 votes
There is a difference between an empty, inactive accounts and a contributor. :-)

Impact on Transitioning to ODbL If Significant Minority "No" Vote

A concern with the implementation plan, not ODbL. As I see it, there are two separate issues:

  • Is ODbL acceptable to each contributor? Assume for now this is a majority "yes".
  • Should we transition OSM to ODbL, considering the level of support for point one?

I foresee several scenarios:

  • Significant support to vote "yes" for the ODbL license. In this case, the impact is minimal.
  • Majority support "no".
  • A narrow majority "yes" for the ODbL license. This is the option that worries me.

The implementation plan is rather vague on how we will manage the narrow "yes" situation. The implementation plan does have mitigation for "no" contributors which is to "attempting to reach out to any contributors who have not relicensed and trying to understand their concerns." For data that has been touched by multiple editors, the Open_Data_License/Closed_Issues states "The original data will have to be removed, plus any later versions of the same element, but it is not necessary to remove nearby or adjoining elements." This is probably a legally closed issue but still open in terms of implementation. (Three options are specified in the "backup plan" but I assume them to be unofficial at this stage.)

Now assume that each node and way is examined and transitioned to ODbL, on condition that it's chain of editors that accept the ODbL. I will ignore the import of external databases for my crude analysis. If we have 51% vote "yes", then for a way with two authors it has 26% chance of being transitioned. For three independent editors, 13% of ways will be transitioned. And given that ways depends on nodes and relations depend on ways, this loss can cascade upward to prevent higher levels of data being transitioned (what is the use of a way or relation if all the nodes are lost?). Conclusion, if there is a narrow "yes" vote, areas with many active editors will be decimated. This loss of data will be extremely de-motivating to the mapping community. Note to self: someone needs to do this analysis properly on the database history.

If we hypothetically accept the need to move from CC-BY-SA, we do not want to pass by a mere majority to another license as this would do unacceptable damage to the live database (and therefore damage the community). And we can't say the mitigation is suitable at this stage, as we don't know the level of ODbL support.

Points that need to be addressed (apologies if any have been addressed. please link to solution):

  • Amend the implementation plan for database migration that goes beyond mitigation and really addresses how ways, nodes and relations will be dealt with. (Not just in the backup plan. Present it in the voting proposal.)
  • Conduct analysis for how much loss of data in ODbL transition there will be under different scenarios.
  • Not to consider a narrow majority vote as a mandate to transition OSM, as a close "yes" vote would be disastrous to the live database and the OSM community. Have a separate vote on the overall project transition, as we need to know the level of support for ODbL before we can make an informed decision to migrate. Have a plan B in case of a narrow "yes" vote, including further modifications to the license to improve community "buy in". Be prepared to address concerns, as the level of interest in the license is likely to increase.
  • Assess levels of support beyond just ODbL and CC-BY-SA. (Public domain forever!)
  • Or we can just take the hit of ODbL transition and wait for the community to recover (assuming loss of data on ODbL transition is a de-motivation factor).

I know people call for the big license debate to be resolved quickly (and I second that) but we can't fall at the implementation stage. --TimSC 20:36, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Click for discussion of this point.

Fundamental flaw in voting: How to treat non voters?

Many of the contributers will have left OSM for various reasons (death, health, change of interests) and will not participate in the vote. This will most likely be the majority. I cannot imagine that a license change can be accomplished by majority vote for the non voting people! How should that work?

-- Comment added by User:Katzlbt 08:24, 16 July 2010

Click for discussion of this point

Fundamental imbalance in voting: New contributors, forced to accept ODbL will eventually outnumber CC-BY-SA contributors.

One of the most despicable things about the whole changeover process is that new users are not informed about the licensing controversy, but are instead forced to accept either the ODbL or PD. While I heartily approve of PD being offered, this change means that eventually as new users cycle in, there will be an automatic majority of users who have been forced into the new "all your contribs are belong to us" contributor terms!!!

If we extend this "voting" style to its logical conclusion, then there's nothing to prevent someone from using straw accounts to force the project into relinquishing control to a For-Profit company or a Closed Source license. It sounds to me like someone at OSMF is using the examples of Iran and other third-world countries' "open" elections to stage this one. --DiverCTH 22:32, 17 July 2010 (UTC)

Click for discussion of this point

ODbL licensed data can be reverse engineered

In early drafts of the ODbL license there was a clause that prohibited data from being reverse engineered from produced works (images etc). This was dropped from the final version as it was unworkable.

A person may create a map from ODbL licensed data and publish it under a license of their choice (CC BY-SA for example). Anyone can then reverse engineer this map by tracing it.

Jordan Hatcher, the author of the ODbL license has argued that there will be residual rights which mean that any reverse engineered data would be considered to be covered automatically by the ODbL. However if this is the case then you would not be able to publish a map under CC BY-SA as the CC license does not permit residual rights to be retained.

This is a complex area that has not been tested in the courts, but either you won't be able to publish your map under CC BY-SA or you'll be able to steal all of OSM's data by tracing it from a map. Both outcomes are bad.

-- Comment added by User:80n 19:47, 5 December 2009

There is an execption for "produced works", so they will be dual-licenced in reality. For "produced works" the licence is changed by their terms to an attribution-only licence. If it is not an "produced work" any longer, the other terms of the licence wake up again. --Fabi2 17:33, 11 June 2011 (BST)

Click for discussion of this point which is is disputed.

Who owns OSM? You!

This statement was translated into English by Frederik Ramm. This does in no way mean that he agrees with the statement.

Es geht moralisch nicht zusammen, dass OSMF die Lizenz ändert, ohne die Contributors zu befragen. Das passt weder mit "Who owns OSM ? You!", noch mit "supporting but not controlling the project" zusammen,

It isn't ok morally if OSMF changes the license without asking the contributors. This neither fits with "Who owns OSM? You!", nor with the idea of "supporting but not controlling the project".

Die ODbL plus die Contributor Terms würden die Funktionsweise von OSM ziemlich grundlegend ändern. Sowas darf nur der Besitzer tun.

The ODbL plus contributor terms would fundamentally alter the way OSM functions. Such a change can only made by the owner.

Auch ist nicht geklärt, was aus den Daten wird, die Leute in die Bank gegeben haben, und die neue Lizenz ablehnen werden, oder die weder auf "ja" oder auf "nein" klicken können, weil sie nicht mehr teilnehmen, heute unerreichbar sind, oder gestorben sind. Dies ist der meiner Ansicht nach ein unüberwindicher Haken.

Also, it is unclear what happens to data contributed by people who do not agree to the new license, or who can neither agree nor disagree because they ceased to participate, cannot be reached, or have died. In my opinion this is an insurmountable hurdle.

Da war mal eine Mitteilung, dass derart Daten aus der neuen Datenbank 'rausgeworfen werden würden.

Someone said that such data will be removed from the data base.

Das war nicht der Sinn, in dem diese Leute aktiv teilgenommen und sich Arbeit gemacht hatten, und wäre unmoralisch : Man darf Menschen nicht einfach so wegwerfen (Diese Daten aus dem weiteren Projekt herauszunehmen und in eine andere Schublade zu schieben, ist moralisch keinen Pfennig besser).

That wasn't the purpose of these people who have actively participated and done a lot of work, and it would be immoral. You cannot throw away these people. (And removing this data from the project and moving it into another drawer is not any better, morally.)

Im Moment steht im scedule in Woche 13 (also nach der Abstimmung) nur drin "entscheiden, was wir mit derart Daten tun". Sowas sollte vor der Abstimmung klargestellt werden.

Currently the schedule says for week 13 (i.e. after the vote): "decide what we are going to do with that data". This should be determined before the vote.

Solange derart Unstimmiggeiten nicht klargestellt sind, oder es unwiderrufliche Gründe gibt, sich über moralische Grundsätze hinwegzusetzen, bleibt mir, im Interesse der Contributors (denen wir verantwortlich sind, unsere Versprechungen zu halten), nur die Wahl, nicht einverstanden zu sein.

As long as issues like this are not resolved, or there are indisputable reasons for ignoring basic moral principles, I can only say that I do not agree, in the interest of the contributors to whom we are accountable to keep our promises.

Ich hoffe, dass Andere diese Bedenken teilen. Wir müssen ehrlich bleiben.

I hope that others share these doubts. We must stay honest.

Mit besten Grüßen, Gerhard Ditsch

Best regards, Gerhard Ditsch

-- Comment added by User:Gerhard 20:57, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Click for discussion of this point.

Contributor Terms can be changed

There are no safeguards in place that would require the OSMF to call any kind of vote before changing the Contributor Terms. As I understand it, it would simply require a majority vote from the board. The current board is honourable and trustworthy but it cannot be guaranteed that future boards will be.

If the board voted simply to remove clause 3 (OSMF agrees to use or sub-license Your Contents as part of a database only under the terms of one of the following licenses: ODbL 1.0, CC-BY-SA 2.0, or another free and open license;) then future contributions could be licensed however OSMF chose.

The Contributor Terms agreement does not contain sufficient safeguards to protect OSM's data.

80n 14:18, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Click for discussion of this point.

Incomplete History for Split Ways

It is proposed that contributions from any user who does not accept the new license will be deleted from the new ODbL licenced database.

Unfortunately the history for ways is incomplete. When a way is split (in JOSM and I assume also in Potlatch) one half of the way is retained with it's original ID. The other half of the way is created as a brand new way with a new ID. This new way does not have any history and nor is there any link that associates it with the original way.

This means that the history and original attribution for half of all the split ways is just not there. The only way to sure that all a user's contributions have been deleted would be to delete everything, which is clearly impractical.

This makes the new license proposals simply unworkable. 80n 18:14, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Click for discussion of this point.

All Share-alike Licences Create Ambiguity

As has been illustrated in the long term discussions on ODbL, the legal complexity in creating a water tight license is insurmountable. Ambiguity reduces reuse of maps and we should strive for clarity. The community is large enough to make people want to keep coming back to get fresh OSM data. It is the community, not the database or the license that drives OSM after all. (I mean to imply the community includes our hard working foundation committee, server admins, mappers, devs, etc.)

The license with the lowest ambiguity is public domain-like or CC0 or similar. This should be an alternative on all future votes. This is the model used with the US tiger data for example. Of course this option has disadvantages: many users would only contribute with share alike terms and many imports are only available as share-alike.

Even if we go down the ODbL route, a "release my contributions as public domain" option should be available on each profile to allow a PD subset export. --TimSC 20:05, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Footnote: if the ODbL is adequate, which does OSMF need rights to make amendments to the license?

Click for discussion of this point.

Making Copies of your maps may not be allowed

Since ODBL makes it possible to put your rendered map under a restrictive license, you might find that you are not allowed to make a copy of a map that you have created but someone else has rendered. E.g. You collect data and draws a map, this mapdata that must always be copyable, but if someone renders that data to an image then they are allowed to put what ever restrictions they want on it's use. Erik Johansson 22:48, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

The intention of the current CC license is that all derivative work is share alike (the extent that it achieves this is disputed). The ODbL intentionally changes this to allow raster maps to be of any license. This might not be desirable as some people prefer use of their work to be continued to be kept share alike to promote reuse of publications. This would prevent merging of OSM with data sets with less free license terms. I tend to think of those data sets to be inferior due to their terms of use. I therefore don't necessarily want my work being mixed with restrictive mapping data. This is analogous to the LGPL vs. GPL in software licensing with respect to relicensing AFAIK. --TimSC 11:41, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Click for discussion of this point.

Not all questions answered on the Use Case page

I did not find an answer for the question yet, if a single user can still sue a license violator. I don't recommend to vote no, but I want to see all questions answered. --Lulu-Ann 15:35, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Principle of least damage

I'd like to call attention to the prudent principle of least (minimum) damage. Let's see what are the best and worst cases both for staying with CC-BY-SA, and with switching to ODbL (with reality, as usual, probably falling somewhere in between those two extremes):

  • best case CC-BY-SA - bad companies do not try anything serious (as they didn't in the past) and all companies use CC-BY-SA true to it's spirit: mentioning OSM; so only downside is we wasted some time on exploring alternative licenses
  • worst case CC-BY-SA - Copyright doesn't apply, so all of OSM data is effectively Public Domain (which many people do not have anything against actually, even if it is not their first choice and they prefer copyleft-alike license). Bad companies get to use it for free without giving OSM credit or contributing their additional data back (that might even have a side effect of making OSM even more popular, depending on the circumstances). Alternatively, CC-BY-SA is considered too strong and requiring too unreasonable things (like having to mention all hundreds of thousands of contributors on every use) and while bad guys can't touch it, neither can good companies like TV stations wanting to use maps and attribute them to OSM (thanks for update, amm)
  • best case ODbL - bad companies do not try anything, and we are (due to good licence) more sure that they stays that way, but we lose some data and some contributors because they do not agree with new license (or are not reachable). That is unavoidable even in best case as shown by reaction of some people.
  • worst case ODbL - many users do not relicense their data, and data is so interleaved that major parts of the map are destroyed (not only data of users who refuse or are unable to relicense, but also of all ODbL-complying contributors who just happen to have edited the data someone else has edited before), and even pro-ODbL contributors are alienated and lose interest upon seeing such outcome, and the OSM withers and die. Alternatively (and somewhat better) is probability that there will be one or more forks of the project, which would again heavily divide contributors and alienate them. The fact that we're much better protected from bad guys becomes irrelevant, because we destroy ourselves so neatly without any outside help. Third alternative is that ODbL proves unenforceable too, and all OSM data is effectively Public Domain.

The point is possible gains of ODbL switch are too small when compared to possible problems. Hence, I'm upholding the principle of the least damage (Ne čačkaj mečku!), and recommend voting against ODbL and staying with CC-BY-SA. (Note: even with "CC-BY-SA requiring too unreasonable things" update, I still think that the worst case of ODbL, especially first or second option, are much worse than anything in the CC-BY-SA worst case; and even the best case for ODbL brings some damage; so I still recommend against trying to move to ODbL)

As it looks to me, CC-BY-SA seems to work pretty OK for now in dissuading bad guys, even if it's chances to be upheld in court are not as big as initially thought (or even much worse). Although I do prefer copyleft license like ODbL or CC-BY-SA to Public domain or CC0, I would much rather accept OSM CC-BY-SA becoming Public domain than having even a minor possibility of the data people contributed in good faith being lost (can you imagine negative publicity and hurt feelings and alienation that even an 1% loss or higher of contributors would cause? And how much of those who initially remain will lose interest in further contributions after such events? Maybe next time the license would change to something THEY won't like, and then all THEIR effort will be thrown out of the window. And that is destroying their man-hours/days/months/years they've put voluntarily on the project. Not a lovely picture at all. We should avoid such precedents unless we have VERY good reasons, which I think we don't at the moment)

As such, I'll probably vote against ODbL unless I see better reasons to go with the switch. If the problems with bad guys escalate in the future, I will reconsider ODbL advantages against it's disadvantages again; but at this moment I am not convinced that proceeding with the switch is a good idea.

I hate to see several hundred manhours lost by LWG, but I think it would be better than going through with something this dangerous. Even if everybody was pro-ODbL (and they seem not to be), some people simply will not reachable anymore to give their approval of license change, and removing even just their data (and all other data people have built up over it as is needed) is too high a cost. Note that most of this comment would probably be exactly the same if it was the question of switching to CC0 or Public Domain - it is simply too late to change the licensing at this stage of project with so many contributors without much damage. --mnalis 20:48, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Click for discussion of this point.

Staying with CC-BY-SA for now and switching only if it's proven invalid

There is no point in doing extensive damage to OSM (removing data, alienating current contributors) unless ODbL is much better choice than CC-BY-SA due to its being better enforceability. But should we cause that (maybe unneeded) damage now ? Or would waiting actually give us much better options ? I intend to show that waiting is indeed a much better strategy.

Obviously, CC-BY-SA is a problem only if it is proven not applicable to data (if CC-BY-SA actually works in court, it is as good as ODbL, and without doing any damage like ODbL does !). So, we would be much better off to stay with CC-BY-SA for now. When the problems arise, we try to enforce CC-BY-SA, and it either works (bad guys get scared) or it actually goes to court, which can then result in one of two outcomes:

  1. CC-BY-SA is shown valid for data. In that case we win, and have all the same benefits as if we switched to ODbL, and without any negative impact -- surely a clear win ! , or
  2. CC-BY-SA is shown invalid for data, and hence all OSM data is actually public domain and free for grabs. In such a case, OSM community can in that moment decide to go to ODbL, change contributors terms to ODbL, and relicense ALL THE DATA without getting approval from all contributors (which they can, as it has just been proven by court that that data is unprotected and free for grabs!) under ODbL, without having to delete any data from OSM and damage it that way (which we'd had to do if we were to switch NOW)! Again a very big win when compared to switching right now. The only downside is that a first "bad guys" will have a free use of OSM data for few months, until it goes stale (and they can't abuse any new data as it is now protected by ODbL).

So I hope I've shown why staying for CC-BY-SA for now is a win in any case. --mnalis 19:21, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Click for discussion of this point.

Not really Share Alike

IANAL, but after reading the license I have the following idea: yes, it's nice Share Alike license, but it's basically pointless because there's separate Collective Database term.

For example: with CC-by-SA, all derivative works should be licensed under compatible licenses. Thus EvilNavCo can't take our data, enhance it with it's own data and not open it. With ODbL it seems to be easy: EvilNavCo does NOT add items to OSM database thus not creating derivative work. Instead, they create Collective Database which consists of unmodified OSM and their own proprietary source. ODbL sect. 4.5.a -> voila, you're not obliged to apply this license to such a product. This leads to abuse of our data and doesn't encourage contribution at all.

Am I missing something?

Also, proposed scheme (ODbL + contributor terms) does not allow import of other ODbL-licensed content into OSM. So it is never Share-Alike license on the import side, and it is not Share-Alike license on the export side since the EvilNavCo can circumvent it easily. That is completely against CC-BY-SA spirit (which we are led to believe the new ODbL+CT would be "almost alike, only better protected").

Click for discussion of this point.

ODbL comments from Creative Commons

Creative Commons have made an excellent case against using the ODbL at ODbL comments from Creative Commons. Most importantly:

  • The ODbL Fails to Promote Legal Predictability and Certainty Over Use of Databases
  • The ODbL Is Complex and Difficult for Non-Lawyers to Understand and Apply
  • The ODbL Imposes Contractual Obligations Even in the Absence of Copyright

Click for discussion of this point which is disputed.

Not clear if single contributors will be able to sue license violators

I have voted no because my question was not answered with more than a "maybe" during the voting period.

There is no functioning process to deal with license violators with the old license, so if nobody cares, what is a change good for? It is not needed.

--Lulu-Ann 23:19, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

ODbL data based on CC-BY-SA data

What would happen in a case like the following?

  • User A maps the basic road network in an area
  • User B prints out this map, adds more details (using the existing road network to align them), and adds them to OSM
  • User A does not relicense as ODbL
  • User B does relicense as ODbL

Didn't user B create some kind of derivative work of User A's data? Really, what would happen in such a case?

Click for discussion of this point.

ODbL covers only data, CC-BY-SA also works derived from it


From my point of view the ODbL license is a step back and worse to CC-BY-SA because the future license will only cover the raw data, not works derived from it. This means that a company can steal our data, produce something from it (i.e. mobile app, special interest map, ...) and claim money for it, as long as they do not modify the source data. The current CC-BY-SA license forces companies to release derived works under same conditions. The ODbL will not (only data).

Furthermore it might be even possible by a juridical dodge to enrich these works with further data (from other sources) and neglect a submission to OSM, as long as this data will not be joined together with OSM data in one database.


Aus meiner sicht ist die ODbL Lizenz ein Schritt zurück und schlechter im Vergleich zur CC-BY-SA, denn die zukünftige Lizenz wird nur noch die Daten schützen, nicht mehr Werke, die daraus gewonnen werden. Das bedeutet, dass eine Firma unsere Daten stehlen kann, etwas daraus produziert (z.B. eine mobile Anwendung, eine spezielle Karte, ...) und dafür Geld verlangt, solange sie die Quelldaten nicht verändern. Die jetzige CC-BY-SA Lizenz zwingt Firmen dazu, ihre Werke unter selben Bedingungen wieder zu veröffentlichen. Die ODbL wird es nicht (nur noch Daten).

Außerdem könnte es durch einen juristischen Winkelzug sogar möglich sein, diese Werke mit weiteren Daten (aus anderen Quellen) anzureichern und eine Weitergabe an OSM zu verweigern, solange diese Daten nicht zusammen in einer Datenbank landen.

-- Jot

I'm no lawyer and therefore don't understand the need to change the license in the first place. Generally I don't care for the subtleties of "free" licenses as long as they allow me to do what I want. But this aspect of the ODbL that anyone may use "my" data for commercial purposes worries me deeply. I do absolutely not see why I should support that. I've just returned from a vacation and wanted to enter my new data, but found my account blocked until I voted. I think this is very bad. I didn't vote so far because on one hand side I so deeply reject this commercial loophole that I want to say "no", but on the other side I'm scared by the threat that all my previous data may then be deleted. If someone would spawn a new OSM project, one that takes the data as long as it's still CC-BY-SA and continues it with that licence, I would probably switch to that project and abandon the original OSM. If more people would do that it might be the death of one (or both) project, and all that for a juristical subtlety in the license no layman understands? Has anyone ever thought about this danger? -- tesche 6 May 2011

using the wrong language


I find the topic very difficult. Not only is thinking in a different language extremly time consuming, especially if one has to look up new vocabulary repeatedly. I endeavour freely accessible data and do not my contributions to be deleted, then I could have skipped doing it. But as long as I don't find an accetable foundation for voting, I'll neither vote yes nor no.


Ich finde die Thematik sehr kompliziert. Das alles in einer fremden Sprache zu durchdenken ist extrem zeitraubend, wenn man immer wieder auf Vocabeln stößt, die man nicht kennt. Ich wünsche mir frei zugängliche Daten und ich möchte natürlich nicht, daß meine Daten gelöscht werden. Da hätte ich mir die ganze Arbeit sparen können. Aber solange ich keine akzeptable Entscheidungsgrundlage finde, sehe ich mich außerstande, irgendein Votum abzugeben. --elmada 10:25, 27 December 2009 (UTC)


I can only agree to the previous speaker and would like to add: I'll never agree to a licence that is not written and explained in German language. Though a big part of the mappers is from Germany, this has not happend, yet. I do understand German very well, English is good, legasile Germany works reasonably but legasile English, and this is important here, too poorly, but confirm a licence change.


Ich kann mich dem Vorredner nur anschließen und möchte ergänzen: Ich stimme keiner Lizenz zu, die mir nicht auch auf Deutsch formuliert und erklärt wird. Das ist, obwohl ein Großteil der Mapper aus Deutschland kommt, noch immer nicht der Fall. Ich verstehe Deutsch sehr gut, Englisch einigermaßen, Juristendeutsch nur leidlich, Juristenenglisch, darum geht es hier, aber nur zu rudimentär, um einem Lizenzwechsel zustimmen zu können.

Deutsche Erläuterungen und die deutschen Lizenztexte finden sich hier: --MapUserOne 12:54, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

commerical interest in licence change


As far as I understand, clouldmade and anybody else will have trouble protecting the rendering rules for maps and so monetarize the use, even if the maps are made form a 100% OSM database. OSM would then not be share-alike redistributable. So they are useless for pratical use. So one could prohibt me using my contributed data in cloudmade view, if I don't pay couldmade for this. I suppose this is driving force: as with the corresponding google project, the mapper is just a useful idiot, while others make a haul. It is the Apple way: take from KHTML, freeloading so the speak, but brush Linux of when coming to iTunes.


Nachdem, wie ich es bislang verstanden habe, wird cloudmade oder sonstwer in der Lage sein, sich die Renderregeln für diverse Karten schützen zu lassen und den Gebrauch damit zu monetarisieren, selbst wenn die Karten zu 100% nur aus OSM-Daten bestehen. OSM-Karten sind dann nicht weiter im Sinne des Share-Alike kopierbar. Sie sind damit in der Praxis nutzlos. Man könnte es mir also untersagen, meine dem Projekt beigesteuerten Daten in einer Cloudmade-Darstellung zu nutzen, wenn ich Cloudmade dafür nicht Geld bezahle, Ich vermute, genau das ist beabsichtigt: Wie schon beim entsprechenden Google-Projekt ist der Mapper der nützliche Idiot, während andere den Reibbach machen. Es ist die Apple-Masche: sich aus dem KHTML bedienen, sozuagen schmarotzen, aber Linux bei iTunes die kalte Schulter zeigen. --Q un go 07:32, 3 July 2010 (UTC)


You are right, this are interests, that 99% of the active users don't share. I don't have a problem with the current licence, but the whole project suffers from the undemocratic change.


Du hast auf alle Fälle recht, daß es hier um Interessen geht, die 99% der Mapper (und User) nicht haben. Ich habe kein Problem mit der aktuellen Lizenz, aber das Projekt leidet unter der undemokratischen Umstellung. --amai 22:35, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

CC-BY-SA argument is a snake oil argument / CC-BY-SA Argument ist Augenwischerei


As the initiators of the transition believe CC-BY-SA is not applicable, effectively rendering the data Public Domain, formally no agreeing of the copyright holders would be neccessary in order to change the licence. So no deletion would be required. Though they think of a removal of non-transitioned data, which permits only a choices for conclusion

* the whole thing has not been properly thought of,
* someone wants to damage the project as a whole,
* their are interests in the permissions granted by OBDL verus CC-BY-SA.

The latter has already be reported to be commercially exploitable in a way not permitted by CC-BY-SA.


Das Hauptargument für die Umstellung ist, dass CC-BY-SA nicht anwendbar wäre, also die Datenbank völlig ungeschützt wäre. Dann wäre aber auch keine Zustimmung der Urheber für die Umstellung notwendig, also auch keine Löschung des Materials von Urhebern, welche die Umstellung nicht unterstützt haben. Damit verbleiben nur noch wenige Möglichkeiten, die Umstellung zu bewerten

* die ganze Angelegenheit ist nicht durchdacht,
* es schadet dem Projekt als solches,
* es bestehen Interessen an den Rechten, die OBDL einräumt, CC-BY-SA aber nicht.

Die unerwünschte Art kommerzieller Verwendbarkeit letzterer Rechte wurde bereits erläutert.

CC-BY-SA data doesn't need to be deleted

One of the main reasons persuading users to relicense their data (even if they don't think the Odbl is a good idea) is the looming and oft-repeated threat that all their hard work will be deleted if they don't comply. From the arguments given this doesn't seem to be necessary.

  • It's possible for a renderer to take CC-BY-SA data and render it as a CC-BY-SA map (obviously, since that's currently being done)
  • It's possible for a renderer to take Odbl data and render it as a CC-BY-SA map (since this is the proposed future)
  • Any renderer can take public domain data and render it as a CC-BY-SA map

So it seems inexplicable that in the future, with data licensed under both CC-BY-SA and Odbl, that the Foundation considers it impossible to continue using all the data. There doesn't seem to be any reason why the CC-BY-SA data should be deleted and the community severely fractured and demotivated. Let mapnik (and the other OSM renderers) continue to render their tiles using Odbl and CC-BY-SA data, and publish their results as CC-BY-SA as they do now. Everybody wins, and no users are left disillusioned and disappointed.

If a commercial entity wants to benefit from the additional provisions of the Odbl license (which seems to be the only reason for the license switch) then they can just use a subset of the data which is available under that license. So they win too.

Of course, that wouldn't satisfy those who are demanding that everybody relicense their contributions (which is frankly completely unrealistic), and would draw to attention the ridiculousness of the license switch in the first place, but maybe that's not such a bad thing...

At the top of this page it does stress that the CC-BY-SA data will be kept (although separately) but that conflicts with the general message which is unambiguously aggressive deletion unless the user agrees with the new terms. Eric2 06:47, 20 April 2011 (BST)

That's right, because rendering is the only thing that OSM data is ever used for, isn't it? --Richard 10:28, 21 April 2011 (BST)
Good point, you're right, rendering isn't everything. But I'd argue it's a large part of what it's used for. If you include rendering of various tile sets, _plus_ rendering of larger map images, _plus_ rendering in vector form such as pdf.
Then you've got conversion to other map formats such as garmin img, but as far as I can tell, the same arguments apply there too - if it's possible to do it now, and it will be possible using odbl data, then why not use two data sources and everyone's happy? Any product which is currently released under a CC-BY-SA licence would be able to use both types of licensed source data, unless I misunderstand something.
Looking at the current percentage rates at, over a third of the data in many countries will be lost in this exercise, so it seems incredible that these numerous issues haven't been resolved already. Why aren't the deadlines being extended until it's clear what's happening and what's going to be lost? Eric2 21:11, 5 May 2011 (BST)

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