Talk:Import/Catalogue/Marin County Buildings

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Daniel O'Connor <>

A wiki entry describing the data, the import, etc and the attributions may be sufficient.

--- Serge Wroclawski <> Unfortunately, as is often quite common, the folks you're talking to are telling you contradictory things. In such a case, we must take a conservative approach. So let me explain why it's contradictory. Public domain is a term of art. If something is public domain, you can place *no* restrictions on it. You can't say that there's a requirement for attribution. You can even take a public domain work and claim copyright ownership over it. The minute they say "Oh, here's a restriction", then they move from it being in the public domain to being "essentially in the public domain". This is how many people talk about Free/Open Source Software as well, but we know that in actual usage, we must abide by the license. As to this data in particular though, I see nothing on that page to indicate that it is available for our use. There is a disclaimer of warranty, but that is not reductive of their copyright terms, it's additive. In other words, in addition to copyright terms, we're also disclaiming warranty. As to your email response- I'd say that without more information from them, their language is contradictory and so the data isn't available for our use. Maybe you can get in contact with the right person and have them make a formal license for the data (such as CC0) and clear all this up? --- Martin Koppenhoefer <> They say you might (even though you don't have to) attribute them, but if you attribute you must make clear that there is no implied warranty.

On the linked page they also state: "

  • Most map data, especially parcels, are not survey precise." *

this is a hint that the quality might not be as good as what we typically have in OSM (at least in areas which haven't suffered from bad imports)

--- Serge Wroclawski <> The minute you use the word "MUST", it's not a request, it's a demand. If the data was public domain, there would be no restrictions.

Also, no where on the page does it use the word "Public domain", nor in any of the data I downloaded, does it have a license listed.

Therefore it falls back to plain old copyright.

--- Carl Anderson <> Dan S <> It reads to me as if the "must" is a condition on the use of the name "MarinMap", not a condition on the use of the data.

--- I think that California's Public Records Act may have some bearing, limiting the restrictions that can be placed on the data by Marin County. That Public Records Act seems to indicate that the GIS data is Public Data.

Sierra Club vs. Orange County

--- Apollinaris Schöll <> yes because of this all such data in California is public domain. There is another case against Santa Clara county a few years back.

But not all GIS data is public domain. If a company creates it and provides a license to the state, a county or city then it's a different story because the company may have a copyright on the data. Or if someone takes the public domain data they can attach their own license. (this is what an upload to osm will do)

and this sentence can be interpreted as Serge did but to me it is clearly a MUST under the condition that you mention MarinMap. If you don't mention MarinMap the data can be used. If you mention MarinMap then also add this disclaimer.

You may acknowledge “MarinMap” as the original source, but you MUST state that MarinMap has no responsibility or warranty regarding data after they have entered the public domain.

--- Serge Wroclawski <> Thanks for this great insight via this case.Reading through the pdf, and not being a lawyer, a few things stand out at me.

Firstly, there's no definition by the court of what public means in this case. Public data might mean that the data is available to access but not to use, or that it's copyrighted but made available.

Secondly, while we could argue that this data should be made available under certain terms, it's really up to the city to do. While "It should be available under these terms" is a good defense if we decide to use it w/o the city's terms, we still need the city to say the data is available under certain terms.

I think this is something the LWG will need to decide. Alternatively, it would be best if the city simply clarified its position.

Putting this in context, in relation to NYC, I got 6 different answers about license for data from 4 different people, all while the data should have been made under a very liberal license (essentially public domain).

--- Carl Anderson <>

When you do go to the LWG it might be good to consider Florida's Sunshine Law at the same time. It has similar considerations.