Licensing Working Group/Minutes/2023-02-13

From OpenStreetMap Foundation

OpenStreetMap Foundation, Licensing Working Group (LWG) - Agenda & Minutes
13 February 2023, 18:30 UTC

Minutes approved on 2023-03-06.


  • Dermot McNally
  • Kathleen Lu (Chairing)
  • Simon Hughes (joined ~30' after start)
  • Tom Hummel
  • Tom Lee
  • Guillaume Rischard (OSMF board, joined ~17' after start)

LWG members
Minutes by Dorothea Kazazi




  • Jim Vidano


Adoption of past minutes

Previous action items

  • 2017-03-02 Simon Poole to determine existing obligations towards sources listed on the copyright page.
  • 2017-05-04 All/Simon Poole to review import guidelines with regards to 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.
  • 2019-01-10 Simon Poole 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 Poole to summarise the advice regarding information requests from law enforcement and send it around.
  • 2019-12-12 Simon Poole to discuss trademark registration strategy (more countries, additional classes, etc) with lawdit
  • 2020-01-09 Simon Poole to include text about downstream produced works to the FAQ.
  • 2020-03-12 Simon Poole to send to Mateusz the link with the research by Kathleen Lu on attribution on various apps.
  • 2020-09-10 Simon Poole to set-up call with Kathleen Lu and our UK lawyer about trademarks.
  • 2020-10-08 Jim Vidano to work on updating the privacy policy in relation to OSMF's use of a commercial CDN, and Kathleen Lu will have a look at it.
  • 2020-10-08 Simon Poole and Guillaume Rischard to look at the translation issue of the copyright policy page.
  • 2020-10-08 Simon Poole to send his Moovit contact to Guillaume Rischard.
  • 2020-10-08 Simon Poole to send a summary of which action items need to be done.
  • 2021-01-14 Guillaume Rischard to report on Board status re identification of outside counsel
  • 2021-02-11 Kathleen Lu to check LWG-specific membership requirements on the OSMF website and Conflict of Interest policy and provide to Dorothea any updates for the website.
  • 2021-03-11 Guillaume Rischard to sort out various email issues - Making sure Dermot McNally is on the main legal mailing issue, making sure everyone is getting OTRS email notifications for the legal queue.
  • 2021-07-08 Guillaume Rischard to meet with Dermot McNally about using OTRS.
  • 2021-07-08 LWG members to provide comment on the HOT draft trademark agreement on the next meeting.
  • 2021-07-08 Jim Vidano to look at next steps for paperwork after the trademark request has been approved by the board.
  • 2021-07-08 Dermot McNally to ask Tobias for expected outcome regarding the request for change of the text of the standard tile license.
  • 2021-08-12 Tom Hummel to suggest text to be published regarding OSMF's legitimate interest in processing personal data.
  • 2021-08-12 Dermot McNally to reply to Tobias about simplifying the text of the tile licence.
  • 2021-08-12 Dermot McNally to make the pull request on Github openstreemap-website regarding attribution requirements for OSMF tiles
  • 2021-08-12 Dermot McNally to communicate back to contacts regarding Australian data attribution and suggest filling the waiver template.
  • 2021-08-12 LWG to identify OSMF legal texts that might be needed under German law to be in German.
  • 2021-09-09 Jim Vidano to ask Simon Poole whether he has previous emails contacting companies that were not displaying attribution.
  • 2021-09-09 Guillaume Rischard to check past emails (e.g. last year ones related to case in Germany where they settled in court) for any sent to companies not complying with attribution requirements and to send what he finds, including links to the Github repositories with the lists of not complying organisations, to the Signal group.
  • 2021-09-09 Jim Vidano and Dermot McNally (2021-12-09) to create a draft template email for the community to contact organisations regarding non compliance with the attribution guidelines
  • 2021-09-09 Dermot McNally to reply to Jean-Marc Liotier (board of directors) with the LWG decision to create a template email for minor cases of non-compliance with the attribution guidelines available to the community and the LWG to directly contact bigger companies.
  • 2022-01-13 Simon Hughes to download a copy of the Copyright FAQ page and mark anything that is not matching the attribution guidelines or is confusing and circulate that to the LWG.
  • 2022-04-14 Guillaume Rischard to ask Tom Hughes to see how many translations of the Copyright and Copyright FAQ page are live. Topic Needed: Update to Copyright FAQ page to match new attribution guidelines
  • 2022-04-14 Guillaume Rischard to update agenda with Navionics (Garmin) success. Topic Fixing attribution success
  • 2022-06-09 Guillaume Rischard to check with Amanda regarding the return-to address she used to the letter about printed maps with false copyright
  • 2022-06-09 Guillaume Rischard to check with the rest of the board about the advice on CWG with LWG to rework the copyright page.
  • 2022-09-15 Dermot McNally to send an email to the companies mentioned on Ticket#2022011910000082 and Ticket#202201261000014
  • 2022-09-15 Guillaume Rischard to respond to the email Ticket#202208041000024 and redirected to right person.
  • 2022-10-13 Guillaume Rischard to take the Ticket#2022100310000013 issue to the board (related to legal consequences for “unlicensed surveying”)
  • 2022-10-13 Tom Hummel to point to the Corporate Membership page or the donation page. Ticket#2022101110000098
  • 2022-11-10 Guillaume Rischard to ask someone else on the Philippines community regarding proof of the use of OSMF trademarks there.
  • 2022-11-10 Guillaume Rischard to pass the message to the board member who wrote to the LWG about Open Database License (ODbL).
  • 2022-12-08 Kathleen Lu to forward the email seeking endorsement to the board. [Topic: Email to trademarks@ - Kiwix]
  • 2022-12-08 LWG to forward the email from dSpace to the board. [Topic: Ticket#2022120510000221 - dSpace request to show logo]
  • 2023-01-19 Guillaume Rischard to reply to Ticket#2022120510000177 (COPIE DE SIGNES DE BALISAGE) on OTRS in French.

Reportage and action item updates

Impresa - request to be unblocked

Impresa emailed the LWG asking to be unblocked - they said they have fixed attribution and offered to donate. The email was forwarded to the Operations Working Group (OWG).

Trademarks – any updates?

1. Guillaume - HOT trademark agreement update.
2. Guillaume - Evidence of use in Philippines status.
3. Simon - Any new notices.

Board business - Budget request from Board

  • No additional LWG expenses anticipated.
  • Normal expenses: trademark filings and follow-up fees.
  • Base the 2023 LWG budget on last year's budget.

Board business - CWG updates to Copyright page

The Communication Working Group (CWG) sent proposed text for updating the copyright page to make it friendlier and explain OpenStreetMap to page visitors.

  • The copyright page is the most common landing page.
  • Rewording aimed at visitors who click on the attribution link on external websites and arrive to the copyright page, without knowing anything about OSM.


  • Add about how to contribute to the project.
  • Make the sidebar suggested by CWG, to be a permanent sidebar across the OSM Foundation website. The sidebar contains links to
    • Support OSM
    • Sign up and start editing [link].
    • Read the Blog
    • Join the OSM Foundation
    • Find an OSM community"

Live editing of the document with the proposed text.

Board business - Complaint regarding Bing MapBuilder

See email to legal@osm What is board status of communications?

  • Diary entry regarding Bing Map Builder. Useful as a summary, it is factually correct.

On Microsoft accounts for submission of edits to OSM

  • Bing MapBuilder had one proxy account for submitting map edits from Microsoft MapBuilder users to OpenStreetMap. They were asked to not do that and were forced to stop when the single account was blocked by the DWG. This was followed with phonecalls and discussions, where it was mentioned that the Microsoft users need to agree to OSM terms, understand what OSM is and have an OSM account.
  • Microsoft were then registering thousands of "proxy" _(more about proxying below)_ accounts, assigned one-to-one to Microsoft users.

Need to be clarified to LWG

  • What past conversations had the board had with Microsoft.
  • Is there a direct line of communication with Microsoft.

On OSMF communications with Microsoft

  • We do have a direct line to the Microsoft team which works on MapBuilder.
  • There have been past conversations between OSMF and Microsoft about MapBuilder.
  • We have explicitly told to the MapBuilder team what not to do, but that was not followed.

On what Microsoft might be trying to do

  • Make editing and adding data easier and they focus much on the easier part.
  • What MapBuilder currently does is similar to what Apple does - you sign-up with a specially created email for that service, so it's not tied to your main email address. Nothing in our terms says that you can't do that.

On MapBuilder "sock-puppet" accounts

  • These are not "sock-puppet" accounts. Sock puppeting is when you are creating one account and pretending to be somebody else.

On Microsoft acting as a proxy

  • We don't have any direct communication with the MapBuilder users.
  • Sometimes MapBuilder users blocked by OSM can still edit OSM, if Microsoft thinks that the edits are good enough.
  • Interactions with the rest of OSMers seem hard to do well with the current setup.

On obtaining information about who owns a specific MapBuilder editing account

  • We could ask Microsoft who holds a specific email address, e.g. if there is a licencing dispute regarding an edit that the person made.
  • In case of a licence change, we would have the email address, which Microsoft knows. We could chase Microsoft if needed.

On messaging

  • Microsoft's intention seemed to be that any OSM direct message to the MapBuilder users would be auto-forwarded to them. The help page on MapBuilder says that personal information will remain on Microsoft but you might receive comments or messages from other mappers.
  • The diary entry seemed to indicate that the messaging did not work as expected.
  • The LWG had received email feedback from someone who tested the messaging function and reported issues.

On complaint that communications can be turned off by Microsoft

  • Overstating the problem, as anyone can do that, e.g. by ignoring their emails.
  • You can create an email account just to edit OSM and never use that email account again.
  • The issue which was mentioned was that the user has no control on whether they will receive the communications.

Suggestion: Τalk to Microsoft that the current setting makes it hard for people to communicate.

Legal aspect: On MapBuilder edits, Microsoft rights and the OSM contributor terms

From a legal perspective,

  • it is not necessarily required for someone to agree to the subcific language of the contributor terms. If they agree to something broader than the contributor terms and then Microsoft passes the rights to us, then it is legally ok for us to use those edits. If Microsoft does not want a two step agreement, but a one step broader agreement from the user, that is ok.
  • the issue is whether we get a proper licence to pass through to OSMF. It's not hard for a company to do a good job about this legally.

Other points mentioned

  • Microsoft probably thinks that they have already given us the necessary rights.
  • Perhaps Bing Maps has a blanket term that would give them full autonomy over any contributions. Similar to Google Maps, which has a general clause in their conditions that grants them very (overly) broad licence over any overlaid geodata. This has caused a stand-off with Ordnance Survey, whereby they have taken the view that their licensees may not overlay data for that reason.
  • If we can hold someone for contributor terms, maybe that can be Microsoft.

Suggestion: Change the terms of use, so that the person signing up has to be the one using the account and that you cannot give the account to someone else or let someone else use your account.

Related to the suggestion to talk with Microsoft

  • Before talking with them, we should first take a view as a project on how we feel about the proxying the contributor terms.
    • Proxying is the wrong term.
  • Ask for measures that Microsoft is taking regarding the communication.
  • Some easy changes are necessary, e.g. adding information during the tutorial.
  • Suggest to MapBuilder to update their terms, so that there is a clear pass of rights to OSM.
  • We might want the OSM logo next to the Bing logo.

On not copying from other maps

  • The general Microsoft agreement that is currently presented during MapBuilder account creation does not include important information such as not copying from other maps.
  • Everything Microsoft does with MapBuilder is towards encouraging tracing off Bing satellite imagery, so it's hard to copy other information.
  • It's difficult to copy building geometries from other sources to MapBuilder. The setup is similar to Humanitarian OSM Team's (HOT).

Other points mentioned

Action item

Kathleen to email Harsh Govind (Microsoft).

Queries to legal-questions (not discussed)

Inquiry re Finnish satellite imagery

Not discussed.

Ticket#2023021010000013 — Re: [talk-au] Adoption of OSM geometry as state mapping base

Not discussed.

Next Meeting

2023 meeting times - 2nd Monday of the month for 2023 at 18:00/17:00 UTC.

2023 LWG meeting dates:
Monday Feb 13
Monday Mar 06
Monday Apr 03 - – go to 1700 UTC with daylight savings time
Monday May 15
Monday Jun 12
Monday Jul 10
Monday Aug 14
Monday Sep 11
Monday Oct 16
Monday Nov 13 – back to 1800 UTC
Monday Dec 11
Monday Jan 08 2024

US daylight savings start - Mar 12 2023
EU daylight savings start - Mar 26 2023
EU daylight savings end - Oct 29 2023
US daylight savings end - Nov 5 2023

Meeting adjourned 62' after start.