Open Data License/Community Guidelines/Attribution For Different Media Types

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The ODbL license section 4.3 says "... You must include a notice associated with the Produced Work reasonably calculated to make any Person that uses, views, accesses, interacts with, or is otherwise exposed to the Produced Work aware that Content was obtained from the Database, Derivative Database, or the Database as part of a Collective Database, and that it is available under this License."

So how do you make OSM contributors happy that adequately attribute us in different types of media such as books, software program and so on? In many cases, this is already answered here in the OpenStreetMap Foundation's Legal FAQ. However, there are still some more difficult areas.

This is a resource to allow OSM Contributors to give their comments and suggestions. Please feel free to add to/edit the sections or create your own:

How close to the map?

Should atttribution always be placed physically on or next to an OpenStreetMap map or can it be placed further away? :-

Same media, different place: About Boxes

When is it sufficient to place the credits and acknowledgements in an "About box" rather than directly on or next to an OpenStreetMap map? App "About Boxes" was the original conversation topic but they can appear in other guises: Credit section in a book or on the reverse side of a map and end credits in video media are the obvious ones.

Different media, different place: Project websites

Many media and ad projects have an associated website. Is it ever sufficient to place the credits and acknowledgements on the website rather than directly on the media? Think TV ads and perhaps news programs. What about placing a partial attribution, such as a logo, in the media and full details on a website? Think any video media with no end credits.


  • Flexibility: it's important not to be too precisely prescriptive; there will always be new use cases we haven't thought of yet.
  • Equivalence: if the media producer finds it acceptable to put all other credits (including their own) in an about box or on a separate credits page/list, then it's surely acceptable for OSM to be credited in the same way. OSM should insist that its credit is no less prominent than the media producer's own credit/copyright statement, rather than trying to guess where might be appropriate in all possible cases.

Specific media types

These are specific media where it either difficult to place a full text attribution right next to or on the map or it does not have much value or sense, for example a highly stylised map graphic used fleetingly in a video ad.

Mobile devices with small screens

Putting a full attribution such as ""Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors"" and a URL link to the license becomes impractical on very small screens.

Should this be a special case?

If so should a specific maximum size be defined? If so, how do you determine "size" as both physical dimension and pixel resolution play a role?

Thumbnails of (OpenStreetMap-derived) images appearing in a gallery of images on a website.

This is a real case. An OpenStreetMap map image may or may not appear in an image gallery generated by a search. Should the website operator be forced to create a lot of special logic to make attribution appear somewhere on the page if an OpenStreetMap image appears or is it OK to tuck a statement away on another page the no one reads!?

Film, tv, video, streaming media programs with end credits.

Film, tv, video, streaming media programs and ads without end credits.