Talk:Lacking proper attribution

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Process dealing with violations

Need to figure out the process for dealing with these, and document it on this page. There needs to be an emphasis on being polite and careful. Very similar to: FAQ#I think someone's been entering copyrighted data - how do we deal with that?

Compare with wikipedia's non-compliance process

We might prefer to encourage people not to make contact directly, and just list them for the Foundation to contact. Certainly we should track who has made contact when, and what replies were received. In some cases there might a to-and-fro conversation.

-- Harry Wood 13:38, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

It would be nice if the foundation could name a responsible person for dealing with license violations. --Lulu-Ann 11:46, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
When I say we need to be polite and careful...
Listing people on this page could easily be interpreted as a rather unsubtle impolite telling off. Some people may deserve to be told off, but many of the ones listed so far do not deserve to be told off. for example. Big red telling off text. Why?? They've created a nifty little tool to visualise OpenStreetMap activity. Clearly they're OSM enthusiasts. OSM Developers in fact. They mention OpenStreetMap (after all OpenStreetMap is the whole point of the animation!) Sure it might be nice if they clarified that their website copyright footer does not apply to the map visualisation, but that's a very niggling nit-picking thing to concern ourselves with. In the meantime we're listing them on here as if they're committing some terrible crime.
As for listing
We will need to stop with this list unless people can use it sensibly.
-- Harry Wood 17:59, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Everybody having an OSM application running is part of the community, and everybody running such a thing is an OSM freak. They all should know about the license. Everybody who adds the demanded lines of text to the site will removed immediately. What is the problem about being told there is something wrong? On one hand you say we shall not write to those people personally, on the other hand we shall not list them? Hey, we could send a lawyer, so no reason to cry if somebody appears on a list, huh?! And if the guys you want to save from being pointed at are so aware of copyright, that they have put their own line in the bottom frame so it appears on each of their pages, then they qualify even more to be aware of OSM contributors copyright IMHO. And actually I have no problem to be considered impolite towards persons that break the law, but you can ask the already removed persons on this lists, my emails were very polite. --Lulu-Ann 21:24, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Harry, please stop rating the severeness of the listed pages unless you are not the lawyer of the foundation. At least sign your ratings. --Lulu-Ann 21:32, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
I don't want to get involved in rating the severity, but you seem to have listed a lot trifling minor violations. When Steve said that the foundation will be starting to look at dealing with license violations, this isn't really what he had in mind. There's a bunch of paid-for iPhone apps springing up which use our maps and our tile servers, and don't credit OpenStreetMap at all. Break out the red text for those kinds of things. It's hardly the priority to be nagging OSM people who are running interesting little development websites.
I agree that they should all know about and follow the license, so I guess ultimately these are positive steps ...but I think you in particular need to slow down a little bit and give the data working group guys (and everyone else) a little time to decide how they want to organise this. As I said above, I'd like to develop a description of what action people in the community should be taking.
-- Harry Wood 11:26, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
A user-facing website - OK I can see the possible reason for getting upset on.

A website - that's clearly only of interest to OSM geeks is rather a different matter. Are you seriously suggesting that mapdiff is ever going to mislead one person as to the copyright status of OSM? --SpeedEvil 15:52, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

We need a new process


obviously the foundation does not care at all about missing attribution.

Some persons have attacked me to write to owners of the listed pages, so I stopped it, hoping the foundation would name a representative.

Now this has lead to the unwanted status, that here are a lot pages listed and nobody writes to them, which leaves the impression of "nitpicking".

I propose to have the uncontacted sites listed on this talk page, and only move the contacted cases to the main page.

Hope that helps.

By the way, the new license ODBL seems to leave us with the same problem, that a single contributor can sue a page owner for missing attribution.

--Lulu-Ann 11:42, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

"a single contributor can sue a page owner for missing attribution" are you sure? As far as I know, problem is opposite - individual contributors have no legal standing and they are sadly unable to take a legal action Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 15:57, 27 November 2019 (UTC)

Software description pages

Several of the links are to software description pages such as [1]. Are these about the software described there or about the description page itself? I'm asking because pages like this aren't "lacking proper attribution" if the software itself contains license information. --Tordanik 20:50, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

They are lacking proper attribution, at least for the screenshot of the software, as there is a map derived from OSM data in the picture. Regarding all other software license stuff, it would be a good ides to show the license during installation, then the user can't say he did not read the license. TobiBS 16:19, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Regarding the screenshots on pages otherwise describing the software: [2]. Alv 15:08, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
But the software is nothing else then a viewer for the data, therefore the map is the main part of this picture, not vice versa. The picture without the map would be nothing else then some buttons. Read [3] or [4], as well as [5] for further information. TobiBS 17:30, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
As most of these application descriptions - for example the one I linked to - are hosted on US servers, I expect that US law, rather than German law, is relevant here. This means that the screenshots are perhaps covered by "fair use". The English (language) Wikipedia, for example, accepts screenshots of proprietary software based on the fair use principle. --Tordanik 19:09, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
I am not an expert in common law copyright questions, but I would argue that fair use is only appicable for free software under at least a similar license as OSM is. But for applications that are advertised commercially, where money is made from the main fact that the map can be displayed, I don't see the fair use. Beside that, the article about fair use states that you still have to quote what you source is. Therefore I think it is OK to leave the license, but you have to state the source. If there are any misunderstandings, don't hesitate to correct me. TobiBS 09:29, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
The license of the software has nothing to with what is fair use. The linked-to criteria are evaluated against the presentation relative to the description page. Alv 08:12, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Not directly, that's correct, but you have to see for what purpose the picture is used, see item 1 of fair use in Wikipedia: "the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;". Therefore it makes a big difference if you want to earn money with the work of others, or if you are only sharing a free method of accessing data and show one example on your site.
But beside all that, even if it is fair use, you have to name the original author, fair use is not public domain, or do I miss anything here? This was my main point, that you still have to name the author (but maybe not the license), if it is fair use. --TobiBS 09:57, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Fair use is one of limitations/exceptions to copyright. Note for example "reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright". So in cases where fair use applies it is not necessary to follow licence of material to publish it legally (dislaimer: not a lawyer) Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 16:09, 27 November 2019 (UTC)

visualizations of geo-tagged tweets

Rather interesting than a bad copyright issue: Twitter made some nice visualizations of geo-tagged tweets apparently using modified OSM-based stamen watercolor tiles in one view (uncropped screenshot, location at with giving attribution to stamen but not to OSM. --Aseerel4c26 (talk) 23:03, 30 June 2013 (UTC)

Fixed/mistaken entries

There are some entries where issue was fixed or never existed. What should be done with such cases? Remove from list and delete? Create a separate list? Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 11:52, 2 October 2019 (UTC)

"Date fixed" and "Comments" columns have been used for the fixed entries; mistaken ones might just be changed to some other colour for licence/author columns with a comment. --Richlv (talk) 12:09, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
Yes, but is it a good idea to have now fixed entries in table titled "List of usages lacking proper attribution"? Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 20:47, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
If they are marked as such, it seems fine - but the biggest concern might be the manageability of the table. Splitting entries out would be most beneficial when the table gets too big to edit/use easily. --Richlv (talk) 05:22, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
I agree it becomes less manageable and also confusing to have a table with mostly now fixed attribution. I'd prefer to just delete entries that have been fixed, and rely on the page history as a record. --Aharvey (talk) 21:50, 2 December 2019 (UTC)
I can only second that. The list has got nearly 250 entries by now, I would very much like to split it into "ongoing issues" and "solved issued" (where that is that they fixed it, the issue never existed or the page isn't reachable anymore). Shall I go forward to split the lists? --Kai M. Poppe (talk) 05:47, 13 August 2020 (UTC)
It seems that noone is against and some are in support, also it is inevitable that at some point table will become unusuably large. Splitting to a separate table or even separate page seems a good idea (though note that I also proposed this) Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 06:05, 13 August 2020 (UTC)

Done with [6] --Kai M. Poppe (talk) 08:04, 13 August 2020 (UTC)

Should we just delete entries that have been fixed (or never existed) after some suitable amount of time? --Ebenezer (talk) 00:23, 20 September 2020 (UTC)

Linking offwiki to pages with more detail

Is anybody opposed to linking to or where I document this case with more details? Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 16:04, 27 November 2019 (UTC)

Add archive

The list has gotten rather long. Maybe we should add an archive for all fixed problems? -- Discostu36 (talk) 11:28, 3 February 2020 (UTC)

See section Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 14:10, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
Now fixed, see section above.

Adding new cases not possible due to false "Spam alert"

When I try to add a new website that I contacted because of missing a proper attribution I naturally want to add the web address. This doesn't work since I see a spam alert message as soon as I try to save my new entry. --zarl (talk) 09:59, 18 March 2020 (UTC)

Can you maybe mention the domain by obscuring the link? So instead (not a real link) have " - remove minus characters, necessary due to spam filter". BTW, thanks for contacting them. Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 08:58, 19 March 2020 (UTC)
There was a spam issue with this page telling their visitors to spam Wikipedia with links to make the website more popular [7]. Given that the page also offers useful panoramas, a user suggested to remove the page from the spam blacklist, but this was declined in 2015 [8]. That is why this page is still on Meta's spam blacklist, which is applied in this wiki in addition to our own one (currently empty). So it is not a general issue, but a specific setting that disallows adding links to this page. --Tigerfell This user is member of the wiki team of OSM (Let's talk) 21:10, 19 March 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation, very much appreciated. I wonder if it's possible to add a short explanation how to cope with this issue to the main article's "Process" paragraph (-> "2. Add an entry") so that users learn why this happens for some websites. I'm just not sure how to phrase this correctly. --zarl (talk) 08:56, 20 March 2020 (UTC)

Cleanup of "List of usages lacking proper attribution" table

Can we cleanup the table format? It's really hard to sort the list by date / submitter right now due to the conflation of data / free form nature of the fields.

Here is a proposed update to the table format:

Page License ok Authors ok Added by Date identified Date added Dates contacted Date fixed Comments / updates
Apple's iPhoto for iOS no yes seav 2012-03-08 2012-03-09 2012-03-08 2012-05-04 2012-03-08 It's all over the news: [9]. Attribution to OSM Contributors but without recognizing the ©, license not referenced, SA not OK.

2012-05-04 partial Attribution: [10]

Apple's iPhoto for OSX no yes dieterdreist 2012-10-21 2012-10-21 Attribution to OSM Contributors but without recognizing the ©, license not referenced, SA not OK.

unclear if resolved, is being dealt with by LWG and OSMF Board. no no nettroll 2012-03-22 2012-03-22 2012-03-22 No OSM references on interactive map. Google logo and Terms of Use link is presented over OSM layer. yes no Bomm 2012-10-05 2012-10-05 not yet Attribution is "Powered by Contwise Maps — Map data © 2012 General Solutions GmbH, 2012 OpenStreetMap, 2012 MapQuest" where "Contwise Maps" and "General Solutions GmbH" are links to . Probably "General Solutions" is responsible for the attribution and for the server "", not by the "Via Claudia" associations. Tiles are provided from "" owned by "General Solutions, so the license CC-BY-SA or ODBL is unclear.,65423803w.html no yes Bomm 2012-10-16 2012-10-16 not yet Shows OSM data, in this case the selected street, on Google map background. Below the map there is a line "Quelle: OpenStreetMap" (Quelle=source) which is a link to No information about license.

Shows the street class from OSM data in text form by citing the German description of the tag highway=residential from the OSM wiki without any attribution.

From the displayed location of the street "Schmalestraße" I can see that the OSM data cannot be newer than 2011-07-19, so CC-BY-SA applies. The text saying that the probably wrongly spelled street "Schmalestraße" is near the probably correctly spelled street "Schmale Straße" seems to indicate that they combined a street list generated from OSM data with some other data source.

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

I am happy to make the changes if others are in agreement.

--Dónal (talk) 10:17, 11 September 2020 (UTC)

I see no problems with the proposed change - but what about cases where they were contacted multiple times? Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 13:40, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
Dates contacted could be a list of dates in chronological order. My intent for notes was for it to be chronological set of updates. --Dónal (talk) 12:17, 29 September 2020 (UTC)
+1 with the proposed changes. --Nw520 (talk) 14:54, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
I intend to make the changes in ~ 1 week (23 April 2021) if there are no objections in the meantime. --Dónal (talk) 15:16, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
That seems a good idea, thank you !

Rebooting: new process and table cleanup

It has been raised as a valid point (in the discussion "Serve watermarked tiles to known offenders who neglect attribution") that such public wiki page (pillory) can become unjustly toxic to the OpenStreetMap goals if it has a potential to undermine our future relationship with the listed entities. It can also cause negative PR as depicting the OSM community as "bullies" of some sort. It can also open up many to libel suits - I'm unsure which persons and legal entities would become vulnerable due to this exactly, but it would probably also involve those listed in the "added by" column.

  • Somehow the tone of the whole article and table might be improved to be less about "copyright violations/abuse/offenders/etc" and more about "cases that are in progress", "ongoing", "under discussion" or "seeking understanding" etc.
  • I propose that we reword the "Added by" column to be able to list multiple usernames and somehow imply that those listed agree with the misattribution ("Reporters", "Nominated by", "Claimants"?). The fact may sometimes be open to dispute and it can be useful to see an approximate gauge.
  • A "last checked" (or "last verified") date column needs to be added, and the process must involve manually or automatically checking whether the mentioned misattribution is still present. If it had been resolved, the mentioned row must be fully removed from sight. Listing such accusations without following through isn't considered professional.
  • I think it would be beneficial if the table was not so defamatory for those involved. This could be achieved by multiple means. One would be to hash & salt the hostname involved (still allowing for easy lookups against duplicates), redact the brand and store the raw data in a restricted shadow table that only lists sensitive data and/or communication involving the mentioned entities. Even better would be to file it as an issue in an issue tracker for those who are authorized to act and refer to the issue number.
  • I don't have a good or official answer about who should contact the entities involved. In our country, we usually try to approach them in a friendly way preferentially through mutual contacts and start some "courtship rituals" and share some coffees until an understanding can be reached and offer our help on how to improve on the situation on their part. I don't recall that it had happened to us that they went angry with us or questioned our authority. It had happened in the past that we were ignored, though.
  • Also, strictly personally and subjectively, I usually don't think that it is worth our while to go after very small players, especially if they are not even considered influencers. However, it can make a great impact if we clean up the usage on the top-ranked sites (like top 1M?), while assisting and educating individual influencers discovered may also give us a positive PR boost.

(I reserve the right to correct the above message based on feedback - all improvements and ideas are welcome, please reply below)

-Bkil (talk) 23:34, 8 May 2021 (UTC) (just another average hobbist mapper)

>public wiki page (pillory) can become unjustly toxic to the OpenStreetMap goals
I think the contrary. The OSM wiki is far from being "public" enough for it to be problematic. I've even encoutered some OSM newcomers that didn't even know of it.
>"lowering the tone"
Those are copyright abuse/offense. OSM volunteers give a lot of time, resource, and the one and only counterparty they ask is a tiny HTML snippet. I think it's fair to ask them politely, helpfully, but firmly to respect our work.
>we usually try to approach them in a friendly way preferentially through mutual contacts and start some "courtship rituals" and share some coffees until an understanding can be reached and offer our help on how to improve on the situation on their part
Yes that would be ideal. If anyone can do that, please do. But I don't think most contributors have the time and patience to do that for every actor. Also, this is not a negociation for a huge ask to them, this is just asking for only one tiny HTML snippet as the sole requirement for free stuff.
I know we should strive for better, but remember that big players (Google Maps at least) don't negociate, they block the widget.
>I usually don't think that it is worth our while to go after very small players
I'm of two minds : not bothering with smaller playes would free up contributors' resources. But at the same time I think a lot of those small/niche players (or "allies" of similar causes) would have a lot of visibility to the "right people". Meaning ones that may become contributors in some way. I can't say I haven't sometime ignored missing attributions on a tiny widget of a tiny site.
One last point : the page already asks for messages to be gentle. If some people are too aggressive in their message already, I'm not sure it's because of the page's content --Gileri (talk) 08:20, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
  • " I think it would be beneficial if the table was not so defamatory for those involved." - defamation requires to be "statement about another that unjustly harms their reputation". Also, with rare exceptions (South Korea law for example) true statemenet cannot ever be defamatory. Suggesting that correctly describing missing attribution as missing is in any way defamatory is ridiculous. Entities using OSM data without attribution should be targeted with more effective methods than toothless wiki page, rather than working on defanging the tiny influence that this page has. Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 19:19, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
    • As shown by your GitHub repository, interpretation of what is and what is not acceptable attribution can be a matter of personal opinion and only a binding court ruling can decide in a given case. Hence it is far from ground truth in some cases. -Bkil (talk) 19:55, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
    • Surely I myself have seen slippymaps lacking any kind of attribution in the past and websites that neither contain links nor even the words "OpenStreetMap" anywhere on the portal - surely these cases are more clear cut. -Bkil (talk) 19:55, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
  • "don't think that it is worth our while to go after very small players" - in my experience smaller entities are more willing to bother with improving anything. For larger ones you need OSMF action, for smaller ones sometimes email is sufficient to fix issues. Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 19:19, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
  • " One would be to hash & salt the hostname involved" - this makes interacting with such list extremely hard for no benefit to us. It would help entities using OSM data illegally, what I am not considering as a benefit. Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 19:19, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
    • This could be automated via a simple JavaScript form, so submitters or contact personnel would not need to bother with it. -Bkil (talk) 19:55, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
  • "can become unjustly toxic" - anything can become toxic - is the current version problematic in any way? -Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 19:23, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
    • We will only see after we get sued. But anyway, my aim would be to greatly scale such attributing hunting activities (even by using automated crawlers), and to enable this, we would first need to make certain things clear and protect ourselves from headaches in the future. -Bkil (talk) 19:55, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
  • "It can also cause negative PR as depicting the OSM community as "bullies" of some sort." - email, without lawyers, without DMCA is not bullying. -Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 19:23, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
  • "usually try to approach them in a friendly way preferentially through mutual contacts and start some "courtship rituals" and share some coffees" (...) "don't think that it is worth our while to go after very small players" - they are legally obligated to follow license and clearly attribute (also on mobile devices etc). It is not something that we need to negotiate for. Until attribution is fixed they are in breach of law. Letting them know rather than starting from DMCA takedowns and lawsuits is courtesy to them for which they should be thankful. Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 19:28, 9 May 2021 (UTC)
  • "A "last checked" (or "last verified") date column needs to be added" - good idea Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 19:19, 9 May 2021 (UTC)