Import/GettingPermission

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Getting Permission for importing or deriving from third party data

Sometimes the exact terms under which data can used is unclear and clarification is needed. Sometimes, the terms do not directly allow OpenStreetMap use but special permission or waivers can be obtained. Here are a few letter templates based on previous real, and successful, requests for permission. You can use it for letters, email or website forms.

Some tips:

  • Bureaucrats are human too!
  • Be specific as to what you want and try to get a specific written answer that can be posted publicly on the wiki.
  • Provide information about the OpenStreetMap project and how the data will be used.
  • Add a License section to the project page for this import so that other know what permission was given and how it was obtained.

If the third party publishes the data under CC BY 2.0, 3.0 or 4.0, please consider using the specific cover letters and waiver templates that the OpenStreetMap Foundation have prepared for those cases.

Letter Template1

Dear xxx,

Thank you for making #DATASET# data available to the public.

I am a contributor to the OpenStreetMap project [1], a collaborative open project to create a global geodata set freely usable by anyone [2].

We respect the IP rights of others and I write to ask if we can use your data. #OPTIONAL: EXPLAIN WHY YOU THINK EXPLICIT PERMISSION IS REQUIRED#

At the most simple, I would seek a statement like this:

"The #ORGANISATION# has no objections to geodata derived in part from #DATASET# being incorporated into the OpenStreetMap project geodata database and released under a free and open license" [1]

I also ask that whatever statement you are prepared to make can be made public for information purposes.

Below is a fact sheet. If you would like any more information, I will do my best to help or can ask our project's License Working Group to get in touch with you.

Regards, YYYY

Fact Sheet

[1] The OpenStreetMap project currently has over 750,000 registered contributors worldwide. Our main website is https://www.openstreetmap.org

[2] We are mandated to make our geodata available in perpetuity under a free and open licence. We are not allowed to use a commercial license, but commercial organisations are allowed to use our data under similar terms.

[3] Our data is currently published under the Open Database License 1.0, http://www.opendatacommons.org/licenses/odbl/

[4] Most of our geodata is contributed by individuals. However, we are very grateful when able to incorporate or derive from other geo-data datasets where license terms are compatible.

[5] We formally attribute all such sources at https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Attribution, using any specific wording if you request. We also try to provide a link to this page with any extract of data from our database. However, for reasons of practicality, we do not require end-users to repeat such attribution since it runs into hundreds.

[6] We also keep a public track of third party data use at https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Import/Catalogue and usually have a project page for each dataset, describing how we use it and whether there are any license restrictions to be aware of.

[7] If you have any specific legal questions, the OpenStreetMap Foundation's License Working Group can be reached at legal@osmfoundation.org and will be glad to help.

Letter Template 2

This is a sample email you can use to request information from a local data provider.

'---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: OSM Volunteer <stud(ess)@osm.org>
Date: Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 1:24 PM
Subject: Use of your data for OpenStreetMaps
To: open.data@datasourceprovider.gov

Hi -

I'm writing to ask about the specifics of the terms of use of your [type of] data found at: http://dataprovider.tld.

The OpenStreetMap (OSM) community is currently making a push to add [type of data you desire - e.g. "Address Information"] to its maps. (For example, here's the OSM map for [somewhere in a different part of the world that has created the exact same thing you're requesting] https://www.openstreetmap.org/?yourexamplelatlong).

[Your local OSM group] is very interested in working with your agency to make sure the OSM community is abiding by your terms of use and also complying with its own goals and guidelines. We have reviewed the terms of use found at: http://dataprovider.tld/terms and believe they [are/are not] compatible with our license terms.

[We would like to know if you could provide OSM with a waiver for your [commercial use restrictions | attribution requirements | etc.] [For attribution issues, other municipalities and governments in the [your region] have agreed to have OpenStreetMap include disclaimers like this on this page: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Contributors#[your region]. Would this be acceptable for you?]

As background, across the United States, there are clear trends toward implementing permissive Open Data policies. The federal government has published a variety of GIS datasets at its data.gov site: http://geo.data.gov/geoportal/catalog/search/browse/browse.page. States like Oregon (http://www.oregon.gov/Pages/datamoderation.aspx), cities like New York (http://nycopendata.pediacities.com/wiki/index.php/Local_Law_11_of_2012) and many other governments (http://wiki.civiccommons.org/Open_Data_Policy) are implementing or planning to implement Open Data policies. Among these trends are removing restrictions on commercial reuse of this public data and relaxation of source attribution requirements.

Many local agencies have found that OSM can be a valuable resource for their local communities and businesses. OSM is also a way to ensure that publicly-funded data is being used as widely as possible and to support the general public and local commerce.

If you'd like to learn more about OSM's license, you can read about it here: https://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright.

We are available for phone conversations or discussions to answer any questions you might have related to this request.

Regards,
Local OSM Representative
OSM user name
https://www.openstreetmap.org
http://localosmgroup.tld

Other references:
Interview with former US CTO Aneesh Chopra regarding open data: http://ctovision.com/2012/10/ctovision-interview-of-aneesh-chopra/

Letter Template 3

This authorisation letter was used in the framework of the Eurosha project in Cameroon and the Central-African Republic.

Authorization of the use and sharing of data

Thank you for your interest in contributing data and/or any other content (collectively, “Contents”) to the geo-database of the OpenStreetMap project (the “Project”). This contributor agreement (the “Agreement”) is made between you and The OpenStreetMap Foundation (“OSMF”) and clarifies the intellectual property rights in any Contents that you choose to submit to the Project.

We, the undersigned …………………………………………………………………………………………………… grant to OSMF, in the conditions as stated below, a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable licence to do any act that is restricted by copyright, database right or any related right over anything within the Contents, whether in the original medium or any other. These rights explicitly include commercial use, and do not exclude any field of endeavour. These rights include, without limitation, the right to sub-license the work through multiple tiers of sub-licensees and to sue for any copyright violation directly connected with OSMF's rights under these terms. To the extent allowable under applicable local laws and copyright conventions, we also waive and/or agree not to assert against OSMF or its licensees any moral rights that we may have in the Contents.

We grant to OSMF that it may only use or sub-license our Contents as part of a database and only under the terms of one or more of the following licenses: ODbL 1.0 for the database and DbCL 1.0 for the individual contents of the database; CC-BY-SA 2.0; or such other free and open licence (for example, http://www.opendefinition.org/okd/) as may from time to time be chosen by a vote of the OSMF membership and approved by at least a 2/3 majority vote of active contributors.

We consent OSMF to quote us or cite the owner of the copyright, according to our wishes or these of the copyright holder. The citation will be showed on the following web page https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Attribution.

We offer the OSMF the following data: …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Drawn up at ………………………………, the …………………………… in duplicate.

Signature of the donor



(Preceded by the handwritten words «read and approved»)