Open Database License/Implementation Plan

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This wiki page was used for discussion and development of the move to the Open Database License. It is not only not legal advice, it is likely to be inaccurate and/or incomplete, and only of historic interest. Please do not use this page as a reference for what you can or can't do with OpenStreetMap data.

This is the program for adoption of the Open Database License as proposed by the Licensing Working Group. We are now in Phase 5 where the license switch occurs.

Currently we're very near switchover. We believe the database contains fully ODbL compliant data. The Licensing Working Group has done due diligence reviews and on 2012-09-03 was able to recommend that the switch-over take place. This was followed by an OSMF board resolution on 2012-09-05 and announced at State Of The Map on 2012-09-06. The actual change-over will take place as soon as the next planet dump is published.

For more details see the foundation blog and meeting minutes of the Licensing Working Group.

License Plan


PHASE 1 New contributors (started 12 May 2010)

  • New sign ups agree to "dual-license" terms (contributor terms). Planet.osm and API data will continue to be licensed under the CC-BY-SA during the license transition.

PHASE 2 - Existing Contributor Voluntary Re-licensing (started 10th August 2010)

  • Existing contributor voluntary agreement begins. Website page to allow users to voluntarily agree to new license. Design allows you to click yes, 'Accept', only. The IDs of users who have agreed can be tracked [here] (data automatically generated)
  • At this point, there will be NO license switch over and NO data will be removed from the live database.
  • Large data imports where permission has been given previously (AND, GeoBase etc) are asked formally to agree to release their data under the ODbL. (informal communications ongoing lead up to this point led by the working group and the groups/individuals who worked on the imports). 16 June 2010: A Bulk Importers support page goes up.
  • People who have made zero edits are notified on login of new contribution terms and are required to accept.
  • Five weeks after the start of voluntary agreement, the License Working Group will meet to assess the total number of voluntary Accepts and the potential coverage of the OpenStreetMap databaase by ODbL. If large, the mandatory phase will begin. If small, the voluntary phase will be extended for up to 5 weeks.

Note: Licensing Working Group (LWG) primarily focused on clarification improvements to the Contributor Terms and resolving license issues with data donors. Other progress slowed while these items werein focus.

PHASE 3 - Existing Contributor Mandatory Re-licensing (Phase 2 + 5 or 10 weeks)

Started 17th April 2011. See progress update from end of Phase 2.

  • Existing contributor mandatory response begins. Website only allows you to log in and use API when you have set Accept/Decline on the new license.
  • If you, click "Decline", you will still be able to continue editing until Phase 4. You will also be able to reconsider and click "Accept" at some point before the cut-off date below. At the cut-off point below, if any data needs to be removed it will be saved and available under the current license, see the draft backup plan. This is intended to help people who accidentally clicked 'Decline'.
  • OpenStreetMap geodata continues to be available to end users only under CC-BY-SA.
  • License Working Group meeting. Assessment of number of Decline responses and number of people who haven't said either way. Emails ready to send to contact those who have not clicked Accept or Decline, (began 29 May 2011, ended 7 June 2011). Personal outreach to those who have said Decline.

PHASE 4 - "Decline" accounts deactivated. (Phase 3 + at least 8 weeks subject to critical mass)

Started 19th June 2011 -- Ended 25th July 2012.

  • Final cut-off of accounts that have not accepted new Contributor Terms/ODbL.
  • License Working Group says: At the start of this phase, there is no need to remove data from the live database since the license is still CC-BY-SA. We recommend waiting until acceptances have been maximised, local issues that have a near term solution have been addressed and there is a sense of community consensus that it is time. The License Working Group asks for continuing community discussion and will continue listening to all feedback.
  • At some time during this phase: Start of technical work to publish the first ODbL-only database.

PHASE 5 aka Done - License Cut-over from CC-BY-SA to ODbL (date to be decided, depends on the technical work)

Started 25th July 2012.

  • Automated redactions complete (25th July 2012) The data now in the live OpenStreetMap database is largely in a state where it can be declared ODbL licensed, however the license hasn’t changed yet
  • (Later in this phase) Cut-over from CC-BY-SA to ODbL. Folks can start using OpenStreetMap data under the Open Database License 1.0. From this point, the live version of the OpenStreetMap database will only be available under ODbL.
  • A final planet.osm export of the database under the CC-BY-SA license will be published and will be made available for an indefinite (i.e: as long as possible) period.
  • Our original goal for meeting this was 1st April 2012.


27 February 2009

  • The draft license text (ODbL 0.9) was made available by Open Data Commons with facility for providing feedback and an email list for discussing the license and a draft adoption plan was proposed by the OSMF licensing working group on OSM legal_talk[1] and on OSM talk[2] a little later.

5 March 2009

  • Working group met, discussed implementation plan following partial review of plan comments and published minutes.

6 March 2009

  • Working group met to discuss issues further and published minutes.

10/11 March 2009

  • Working group scheduled to review of community feedback received to date. No minutes have been published to date (13th March)

March 2009

  • Date unknown, Jordan (the author of the ODbL) has said he will publish a further draft on the comment site based on the comments received, before the end of the comment process. We don't know when that date will be.

20 March 2009

  • End of Open Data Commons ODbL v0.9 comment period. This is the close of the comment period on the ODbL *only* and this is driven by its author and its home at the OKFN. This is not the close of comments on how, when and if OSM adopts that license.

29 June 2009

9 July 2009

  • License Working Group presents a formal proposal to the OSMF Board at their face-to-face meeting in Amsterdam. The proposal document can be read here . The Board is now conducting a open-ended review.

5th December 2009 (week 0)

  • OSMF Board asks OSMF members (who have to be a member as of or prior to 13th October 2009 to ensure no rigging can occur afterward by masses of people joining just to vote.) to vote (3 week grace period within which to vote, after 2 week we will send out a reminder to people who haven't yet responded) on whether ODbL 1.0 should be put to the community for adoption.

19th December 2009 (week 2)

  • Reminder email to OSMF members vote on ODbL adoption.

26th December 2009 (week 3)

  • voting ends (ended. Results are available at here)

OSMF Members voted in favour of proceeding with the transition plan for the potential adoption of ODbL... (see 5th December 2009 entry and 26th December 2009 entry)

On Wednesday 5th September, the board of the OpenStreetMap Foundation resolved that the license change should go ahead. This was announced at State Of The Map Conference, Thursday 6th September.

2nd September 2012

Final redaction clean-ups are completed.

3rd September 2012

License Working Group recommends that the license change can go ahead.

5th September 2012

OSMF board resolved that the license change can go ahead when the next planet dump is published. This is announced at the start of State of the Map 2012, the following day.