Licensing Working Group/Minutes/2020-03-12

From OpenStreetMap Foundation

OpenStreetMap Foundation, Licensing Working Group - Agenda & Minutes
Thursday March 12th 2020, 20:00 - 21:00 UTC



  • Kathleen Lu
  • Guillaume Rischard (board, MWG)
  • Nuno Caldeira
  • Michael Cheng
  • Simon Poole (chairing)
  • Jim Vidano (joined ~ 41’ after start, sound problems)

Guests: Mateusz Konieczny

Apologies: Nuno Caldeira


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”.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 2019-07-11 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.
  • 2019-10-10 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.
  • 2020-02-13 Simon to finalise attribution document, wikify it and ask for community feedback and if no substantial objection forward it to board.
  • 2020-03-12 Simon to send email or fax to Moovit.
  • 2020-03-12 Simon to send to Mateusz the link with the research by Kathleen on attribution on various apps.
  • 2020-03-12 Guillaume to talk to the board and get back to the LWG after the board's screen to screen meeting. Suggested feedback to include if the LWG should continue with the attribution guidance in some form as it is now.



Currently there is no indication that any agreements will be reached on topics important to the OSMF by the end of the transition period (end of 2020).


  • See correspondence to board, no major actions required
  • Open point if EU rep is necessary
  • Equivalence from UK perspective
  • Sui generis DB protection
  • Consensus that we don't have to do anything on privacy.
  • Nothing special on single company with multiple operations in EU and out. As things stay as they are we should be covered by current privacy policy.

Sui generis DB protection

  • No decision/action needed yet.
  • Likely ways to address this: have subsidiary or other method of publishing in the EU.
    • We might be looking at something similar for banking - Barclays is kicking us out.

OSMF Matrix instance

Background: The Communication Working Group has reached out to LWG to see if there are any particular privacy concerns regarding OSMF hosting an official OSM Matrix server (Synapse), something that was suggested to CWG by volunteers Atrate and Natrius. Related to Github ticket: Suggestion: Federating OSM communities' rooms through OSMF-hosted Matrix servers

Data protection requirements?

  • Similar with mailing lists, forums and anything else that holds private messages.
  • Response sent to Communication Working Group.

No comments.

Attribution guideline

Evaluation of feedback.

Way forward: alternatives

  • Fix minor issues (dpi definition and reduce minimum width from 500 to 200 dpi) and forward to board.
  • Major rewrite of sections on small maps, multiple sources and mobile devices.

Board's objections, as relayed by Guillaume

  • Never acceptable to hide attribution.
  • People not wanting to have a different treatment of mobile and small screens.
  • Happy to pass the rest of the guidance.

Small map section

Potential roadblock:

  • Unclear on what dpi definition we are using.

dpi definition

  • 500 device independent pixels is wider than the typical mobile device screen. The number was used as a placeholder because we didn't decide what to use.


  • Reduce 500 to 200 device independent pixels.
    • How many use cases are we talking about and do we care about them?
  • Make the text clearer that the section is relevant only for small devices.
  • If this point is the hold up for the board, hold the definition of that and ask board to move vote on the rest of it.
    • Comment that guidance leaves section on multiple map sources up in the air.
  • Attempt to relicence.
  • Have another panel at next State of the Map conference.
  • Have attribution always on and hide it on interaction.

Some points mentioned during discussion

  • The most pressing issue is multiple sources and multiple legal notices. Leaving it out will not reduce uncertainty in the marketplace.
  • Mention that feedback at SotM-US was that people were wondering how the developers would know the size of the users screen.
    • Comments that in Android and iOS one can get size in screen pixels and convert them to device independent pixels.
  • Remit of LWG is to give maximum clarity on attribution.
  • We've been successful because all bad things said about current licence didn't happen.

On concern that the community members (that the board got feedback from) included just a few people on mailing lists

  • The board got feedback from local communities.
  • Allan Mustard (OSMF chairperson) had more than 42 calls with various community members. The attribution question is important for some people and not an issue to others.

On contributor licence agreement, the ODbL and the social contract with the community

  • Trying to find something that doesn't contradict the three contracts above.
  • It seems that the board wants to contradict and stray away from the contributor licence agreement and the ODbL for the purposes of the attribution guideline.

The ODbL and the contributor guidelines have not kept up with current concerns of the community.

  • The attribution guidance seems like a patch to the underlying problem which seems to be the ODbL Suggestion to relicense.

Jim Vidano joined

On additional constraint of practicality (e.g. multiple sources)

  • People may use many different sources with different attribution requirements.
  • We have asked multiple times the community about multiple source attribution and everything that came back was not practical.

On the process

  • As OSMF is the actual licensor, it's up to the board to sign off on any guidance.
    • Board is bound by contributor agreement.

On relicencing

  • Revision or replacement is clearly on table, long term fix.
  • Suggestion to ask the board if they would consider it an option.
  • Relicensing might take a year or two.
  • Process: find suitable licence, agree on text, have vote (~1 month), quorum 2/3 of current contributors.
  • Opening the current licence scheme might be more difficult to find out the most popular options for the community.

On other licences like CC4

  • More permissive with respect to attribution.
  • The way that CC has solved the issue of clarity is by using guidance, best practices, examples of attribution.
  • The problem with those licences is that their application to data would end multiple business models based on OSM data because of their downstream DRM and licence requirements for derived works and derivatives which are not databases.
  • Even transition from permissive ODbL to CC BY would be problematic as it would stop many use cases that are now common practice.
  • Could modify CC BY or issue a waiver (the Wikimedia Foundation does that for some aspects of CC BY-SA 4.0 - waived database rights section).


  • Guillaume to talk to the board and get back to the LWG after the board's screen to screen meeting. Suggested feedback to include if the LWG should continue with the attribution guidance in some form as it is now.

Michael had to leave.

Discussion with Mateusz Konieczny

  • Problem with addressing issues raised is that the attribution guidance has not been finalised yet.
  • For some of the cases listed, we have to fall back to ODbL text on what "reasonably calculated" would mean.

Some cases are clear: where no attribution is provided or is hidden deeply.

Moovit app

  • Attribution hidden deeply and wrong licence (CC BY).
  • Problem reported to them by Mateusz in September and no response yet.
  • Suggestion: LWG to send a letter, so that it gets higher on their priority list.

Moovit website: Attribution provided.

Action item: Simon to send email or fax to Moovit.

Mateusz to talk to Ilya Zverev about who we should contact on

On taking down apps

  • In the past we had apps taken down but they were malicious or scammers.
  • This would be a last resort for someone using OSM data in good faith.

Why in the draft attribution guidelines is hidden attribution considered to fulfill ODbL's "reasonably calculated notice"?

Question by Mateusz

  • Click to view is not sufficient, as most people are not looking for attribution, they're just using a map.
  • Confused why insufficient attribution gets proposed to be adopted as official guideline.
  • Looking for ODbL to be enforced and it looks that it won't be on mobile devices.

Points mentioned:

  • Currently guidance not approved.
  • There are situations you can't have attribution open by default, but it should be somewhere where the user expects it to be.
  • We used to get email from users of Facebook and Instagram about errors, so information could be found.
    • The Data Working Group asked Facebook to change the UI so that errors to the map get back to Facebook.
  • We need more input from the board.

On suggestion of showing the attribution by default

Points mentioned during discussion

  • LWG going on with what has been industry practice up to now, which would be one of the things that a court would look at, if a case was brought to court.
  • Splash screen suggested as a solution. But one could argue that once it's gone, we're no longer fulfilling the literal requirement of ODbL.
  • Attribution by default could be adopted by the community as "reasonably calculated" for websites/apps, if visible for 5-10 sec and then collapses in a way that the user can reopen it.
  • No practical objection for disappearing attribution, if OSM is the single source.
  • For multiple sources, legal and privacy notices might be overwhelming the map (mentioned as a general issue, not just for small screens).

On Google maps attribution

  • Their always visible logo on the maps of their apps is not attribution to the data source.
  • Their non-Google data sources are attributed 5-6 clicks away (research by Kathleen ~ 6 months ago).

Action item: Simon to send to Mateusz the link with the research by Kathleen on attribution on various apps.

Any Other Business


Next Meeting

April 9th 2020 20:00 UTC on Mumble