Licensing Working Group/Minutes/2020-01-09

From OpenStreetMap Foundation

OpenStreetMap Foundation, Licensing Working Group - Agenda & Minutes
Thursday January 9th 2020, 20:00 - 21:00 UTC



  • Simon Poole
  • Michael Cheng
  • Jim Vidano
  • Kathleen Lu
  • Nuno Caldeira (joined at 4’)




Adoption of past Minutes

Previous Action Items

  • 2017-03-02 Simon to determine existing obligations towards sources listed on the copyright page.
  • 2017-05-04 All/Simon to review import guidelines wrt licence “approval”.
  • 2017-09-05 Simon to ask Lawdit for quotes for registering for the additional class suggested.
  • 2018-03-08 All to look at the Working Groups collecting personal information.
  • 2018-04-12 LWG to follow-up on the iD editor, as the number of changesets is now included on the changeset comments thread.
  • 2018-04-12 Simon to contact The LWG will allow use of domain name on the condition that if there's local group in the future, they will have to concede control to them and get agreement in writing, so that if domain expires it doesn't get squatted on.
  • 2018-05-10 Jim to sign the LWG NDA.
  • 2018-10-11 Simon to ask the board to contact the Working Groups about the NDA and ask people to sign up.
  • 2018-11-08 Simon to ask William to provide information about the Canadian OGL variants he is interested in, in a systematic format.
  • 2019-01-10 Simon to draft text to developers of apps related to geo/mapping, having OSM in their names or using variations of our logo.
  • 2019-02-14 Simon to summarise the advice regarding information requests from law enforcement and send it around.
  • 2019-04-11 Simon to add LWG past guidance which has not gone into the attribution page.
  • 2019-07-11 Kathleen to draft one-line attribution statement for the Tile Licence and get feedback from the LWG.
  • 2019-08-08 Simon to seek legal advice on potential GDPR/privacy issues with a no-deal Brexit.
  • 2019-09-12 Kathleen to talk to iD developers and see what they can implement as an iD internal based solution.
  • 2019-10-10 Simon draft letter to board wrt PD checkbox.
  • 2019-12-12 Simon to discuss trademark registration strategy (more countries, additional classes, etc) with lawdit
  • 2019-12-12 Simon to get back to Uni Heidelberg wrt track issue
  • 2020-01-09 Simon to include text about downstream produced works to the FAQ.
  • 2020-01-09 Kathleen to produce 1-2 sentences about tile licence, to be included on copyright page.
  • 2020-01-09 Simon to give feedback to the board that we are thinking of adding a section to the attribution guideline and that we don't have a consensus right now.


Attribution guideline

  • Draft sent to the board.
  • Some feedback received.
  • Mobile devices not defined anywhere.
  • 1-user interaction: suggestion from a company to have a side swipe for this, as this is what users are expecting. Maybe add a note to that effect.

Produced work

Downstream attribution requirements from the ODbL?

With the ODbL licence, you have the attribution requirements and you have to make a derivative database that you used to make the produced work available if somebody asks for it.

  • Is there an implicit requirement that the licence/terms you choose require an attribution statement downstream if someone takes your produced work and reuses it or republishes it in some form?
  • Are we assuming the classical layered copyright model, where the database rights survive downstream in further produced work copies?

Nuno joined at 4’00 after start

No objection voiced on that licence carries on.

Points mentioned during discussion

  • It's like CC-BY (licence carries on).
  • Common practice of licensing continuing (examples given with licenced photo included in a presentation with a different licence and music, where separate rights exist for one music piece).


  • Add text to copyright page to make clear the licencing of downstream produced works and then update the attribution guidance.

Action item: Simon to include text about downstream produced work to the FAQ. Tile licence

OSMF tile licence, text for inclusion on copyright page?

Action item: Kathleen to produce 1-2 sentences.

“Twitter attribution thread”

Background: Tweet by New York Time which -on the timeline- was accompanied by a preview image of a map based on OSM data without attribution, and was linking to full article which contained a similar (but not exactly the same) map. The map in the article was attributing Mapbox (no user interaction required) and OpenStreetMap (pressing the i button was required to see attribution).

Points mentioned during discussion

  • Assuming we agreed on previous topic (about downstream attribution of produced work), someone using image downstream should provide attribution as well.
  • From a European perspective use on Twitter probably is not fair use - in the U.S. it might be.
  • People publishing on Twitter might not be aware of the general attribution issue.
  • The problem will get larger with increased use of social media.
  • The attribution guideline melds what is legal required with what we think is ideal.
  • People would have to add attribution in the text or the image to be legible.
  • We want people to use maps based on OSM data on such platforms and to also provide attribution.

On images displayed on Twitter

  • These can be either images automatically added by twitter based on the linked content (e.g. image from a linked webpage), or added by users.

On preview images displayed on Twitter timeline

  • The size of the preview images is determined by the platform and might differ depending on the screen of the viewing device (smartphone/PC).

On the specific case

  • The dissimilarity of the map on the NYT tweet and of the automatic preview generated by Twitter if one tweets a link to the NYT article indicates that attribution was cropped out.
  • Tweet got at least 666 likes and 265 RTs, so a lot of people saw that map without OSM attributed.
  • Issue different from Strava issue, where 1) the preview is generated by the Strava app and 2) the attribution is of a font colour too similar with overlay graphic, making it almost impossible to see.


  • Giving right to the platform to detect OSM based-maps and then bruteforce attribution.
    • The size of the previews is usually small to determine whether a map has OSM data.
    • Detection will be very difficult with different map styles.
    • OSM map in terms of data might look very similar to someone else's, depending on the zoom level.
  • Make users aware of the issue.
  • Addition to the guideline "if you use an automated system or app to publish to social media ensure that attribution is still visible or added manually".
  • Instead of using a legal argument, use a moral argument ("do the right thing") and suggest ways to fix the issue.
  • Add a section on the attribution guideline covering basis and all possibilities.

Action item: Simon to give feedback to the board that we are thinking of adding a section to the attribution guideline and that we don't have a consensus right now.

Any Other Business


Jim (Telenav) logged out.

Not added to the agenda since it is out of LWG’s hands.

Creation of Local Chapter agreement and OSM US

Discussion after a question by Kathleen. Background provided by Simon.

  • 2007: 1st OSMF board meeting - agreement of producing a LC agreement and signing LCs.
  • 2007-2010: Went through multiple hands - complicated text. Next draft based on Wikimedia agreement.
  • 2012: Simon joins the board and goes through the agreement with a corporate lawyer trying to simplify it. OSM US was involved in the discussions from 2010 onwards.


  • Registered non-profit in the States - have domain name.
  • Initially stated intend to become an OSM local chapter.
  • Incorporated in the US before OSMF filed their TM registration.
  • Multiple meetings of OSM US members and OSMF representatives throughout the years - LC agreement never signed. Initial reason offered that there was no time. In 2018, explicit reason offered that there is a problem with licensing rights.

Other points mentioned

  • Regardless of the legal aspects, the claim of rights to the name are questionable from an ethical point of view.
  • LC agreement is covering extremely unlikely cases if things go wrong - if you are no longer functioning as an LC you lose the licence and the OSM mark, which is non-negotiable.

Next Meeting

February 13th 2020 20:00 UTC on Mumble