Legal FAQ/CC-BY-SA Archive

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What was the licence for OpenStreetMap's geodata before September 2012?

The license of the data itself was Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0. Older planets are still licensed under CC-BY-SA because they contain the work of mappers who did not agree to relicense their contributions.

What is the licence of the current database?

On 12 September 2012 OpenStreetMap has changed the license to Open Database License 1.0, which has a new FAQ.

When you upload data to OSM, you are the copyright holder of your data, but you agree to license it under the terms of this licence. This means only you can relicense the data, unless you have joined on or after May 11, 2010, in which case you have granted the OpenStreetMap Foundation this right. The copyright of the whole data set is scattered among all contributors.

Some contributors release their contributions to the public domain.

What's this about a licence change?

We are changing to the Open Database Licence ('ODbL'). This is very similar in intent to our current licence, but the OSM Foundation believes it is more secure legally, and offers more clarity for both contributors and users. The licence change took place on 12 September 2012.

See Legal FAQ for advice on the current database.


If I have data derived from OSM data, do I have to distribute it?

The licence does not force you to distribute or make any data available. But if you do choose to distribute it, or anything derived from it, it must be under the same licence terms as the OSM data.

Can I charge for distributing OSM data or data derived from OSM data?

Yes. You can charge any amount of money you want for any service or data you provide. However, since the data (or service) that is derived from OSM data must be licensed as above, other people may then redistribute this without payment.

Can I get permission to distribute OSM data under an alternative licence?

The copyright to OSM data is vested in the individual contributors. If you happen to use data provided solely by one or a few OSM contributors, you can ask them if they are willing to provide their data to you under a different license.

I would like to use OpenStreetMap maps. How should I credit you?

The requirements are stated in section 4.c of the OpenStreetMap licence. In brief, you need to credit OpenStreetMap and make it clear that the maps are available under our licence terms.

What credit to use

  • If you are using OpenStreetMap tiles (e.g. Mapnik), we request that your credit reads at least "(c) OpenStreetMap contributors, CC-BY-SA".
  • If you are using OpenStreetMap data only, we request that your credit reads at least "Map data (c) OpenStreetMap contributors, CC-BY-SA".

Where possible, 'OpenStreetMap' should be hyperlinked to, and CC-BY-SA to . If you are using a medium where links are not possible (e.g. a printed work), we suggest you direct your readers to (perhaps by expanding 'OpenStreetMap' to this full address) and to

Good examples: [1], [2], [3].

Where to put it

This credit needs to appear in a place "reasonable to the medium or means you are utilising". In other words, you should expect to credit OpenStreetMap in the same way and with the same prominence as would be expected if you were using any other map supplier.

Our common interpretation of this is:

  • For a browsable electronic map (e.g. embedded in a web page or mobile phone application), the credit should typically appear in the corner of the map, as commonly seen with map APIs/libraries such as Google Maps.
  • For a printed map, the credit should appear beside the map if that is where other such credits appear, and/or in the "acknowledgements" section of the publication (often at the start of a book or magazine).

If you are producing library code that offers OpenStreetMap data or tiles, you should make sure library users are aware of these terms. We strongly recommend that you display this credit by default when your library is used.

There is some lack of clarity about whether a formal requirement exists in the CC-BY-SA licence to credit every single OSM contributor. We do not believe this is practical or desirable and therefore the above standards have generally been adopted. The proposed Open Database Licence will not suffer from this drawback but will have broadly similar standards of attribution.

Licence Interpretations of how OSM data can be used

The following licence interpretations were created by some OSM contributors by referring to the licence, and their understanding of the law. They were not created by lawyers, and do not constitute legal advice. The answers may not be the opinion of all or even a majority of OSM contributors. They or of the OSM Foundation.

You are responsible for your own use of OSM data, and in your circumstances you may have to refer to the licence directly, and obtain your own legal advice.

See also