Open Data License/Why You Should Relicense

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This page has been archived at the osmfoundation site.

We Are Changing The License

Our current user license is Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.0. It for not designed for data and the creators of the license state, "Creative Commons does not recommend using Creative Commons licenses for informational databases, such as educational or scientific databases.".

The main issues for the OpenStreetMap project are:

  • The current license uses only copyright law. This clearly protects creative works such as written documents, pictures and photos. It does not clearly protect data, particularly in the US.
  • The current license is not written for data and databases. It is therefore very difficult to interpret. If someone uses your data in a map in a book and the map has several layers, what should be the placed under CC-BY-SA. Just the OpenStreetMap layer and any enhancements? The whole map, including any unconnected layers and markers? The whole book?
  • It is difficult or impossible to ask questions about what can and cannot be done, as this means asking all the thousands of contributors individually to give their permission.
  • This means that "good guys" are stopped from using our data but the "bad guys" may be able to use it anyway.
  • It is difficult or impossible for folks to mix our data with data under other licenses.

You can read more here: Why CC_BY-SA is Unsuitable

For discussion of these points, see the Talk page.