Licensing Working Group/Minutes/2023-06-12

From OpenStreetMap Foundation

OpenStreetMap Foundation, Licensing Working Group (LWG) - Agenda & Minutes
12 June 2023, 18:00 UTC


  • Dermot McNally (Chairing)
  • Jim Vidano
  • Tom Hummel
  • Tom Lee
  • Simon Hughes
  • Guillaume Rischard (OSMF board)


  • Kathleen Lu


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 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 redirect to the right person.
  • 2022-10-13 Guillaume Rischard to take the Ticket#2022100310000013 issue to the board (related to legal consequences for “unlicensed surveying”)
  • 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).
  • 2023-03-06 Kathleen Lu to write back to Iiro Laiho (Inquiry re Finnish satellite imagery) and have them clarify that the attribution is ok. The LWG to update the attribution.
  • 2023-04-03 Guillaume Rischard to ask Grant Slater regarding passing LWG tickets to OWG.
  • 2023-04-03 Dermot McNally to find wording that makes it clear to the recipients of the love letters that the letters come from mappers.
  • 2023-04-03 Guillaume Rischard to send the Attribution Guidelines (Case of German Federal Mapping Agency buried attribution)
  • 2023-04-03 Tom Lee to reply to the OSM Serbia community on GitHub asking for additional details (Ticket#2023030810000178 - Serbian Geodata)
  • 2023-04-03 Dermot McNally to put Benito Romualdo Palma Temoaya in touch with the Mexican community (Ticket#2023032410000272 – Asesoría)
  • 2023-05-15 Tom Lee to add clarity to the website ticket and potentially modify the pull request. Can make a generic statement that "OSM data is continuously edited and please check edit history", linking to the OSM wiki article about changesets.
  • 2023-05-15 Dermot McNally to write a template reply for emails we receive regarding missing attribution and send it to Kathleen.
  • 2023-05-15 Kathleen Lu to create an OTRS template with Dermot's template reply regarding missing attribution.
  • 2023-05-15 Simon Hughe’s trademark person to draft a physical merchandise template. Existing templates on domain names and State of the Map conference can be used.
  • 2023-05-15 Kathleen Lu to write to the person that contacted the LWG regarding OSM merchandise that the Board is considering the issue.

Reportage and action item updates


We would need a legal representative, see rec. 44.

Action item: The lawyers in LWG to review to see if anything was overlooked.

Tom Hughes offered to review.

Patent donation

Board decided not to take it. Kathleen has made an intro to Keith Bergelt at Open Invention Network.

Any updates on reported attribution cases?

Reports in OTRS:

Trademarks – any updates?

Guillaume - HOT trademark agreement update

Guillaume to try to get in contact with HOT's new executive director.

Guillaume - Evidence of use in Philippines status – done?

It has lapsed. To be removed.

Simon - Any new notices?

No updates.

New trademark quick license for merchandise

Thank you Simon and team for preparing. Any comments beyond the email thread?

There were two suggestions on the draft document.

Suggestion: Decide on the next steps.

Holdover items

How to pass tickets to the Operations Working Group (OWG), or does OWG have a template answer?

Guillaume was under the impression that since the tickets were in OTRS, they can be moved to a new queue. Operations Working Group (OWG) uses Github.

Suggestion: Provide an OTRS queue to the OWG.

OTRS is an issue/ticket tracker used by several Working Groups of the OpenStreetMap Foundation.

Action item: Guillaume to contact OWG about them getting an OTRS queue, so that LWG can move tickets to them.

Where to forward user deletion requests?

To the OWG.

Any way to block address in OTRS? Junk mail levels have become intolerable

Awaiting Guillaume’s report.

  • Also OWG-related.
  • This will be an ongoing process.

Reminder action item: Guillaume to ask Grant about how to block address in OTRS.

Queries to legal-questions

Ticket#2023032410000272 – Asesoría

  • We were approached in Spanish with a technical question how to get the data in.
  • Dermot contacted a prominent mapper in Mexico just before this meeting, explaining the situation and asking if they could engage with the person or whether there was a better point of contact within the Mexican community.


Polar Electro

On this particular case

  • Related to a sports-watch application.
  • They seem careful to do the right thing but had the issue of screen real-estate.
  • Their proposals for attribution seemed appropriate.
  • They’re suggesting putting attribution to their “about” box.
  • They don’t ask us to waive the requirements but asking about the interpretation of attribution.
  • We don’t know how often the device starts-up. For smartwatches it is every few months.
    • Might be powered-up before every training.
    • Sports-watches are different from other smart-watches.

On attribution on watches, small devices and apps

  • Apple watches with maps that and their usage of OSM.
    • In the case of Polar, there are no other data providers.
  • Garmin devices with maps that use OSM data: When switching the device on, you usually get a mention of OSM at system start-up.** People would not see something similar to smart-watches.
  • Attribution via an (i) button, might be better (more readily available at any point of usage) than attribution shown at splash screen during start-up of devices that are powered-up twice per year.

On attribution guidelines

  • We had not articulated a particular approach for smart-watches.
  • The closest wording was related to the splash-screen.
  • The guidelines describe safe harbor - it is not necessarily the final word on what is compliance and meets the “reasonably calculated” requirement of the licence, but it has been approved by the board.
  • One could argue that the splash-screen option covers system start up.
  • For small screens, the suggestions for displaying the attribution are either on the splash screen during application or system start-up or showing and then hiding the attribution.

Other points during discussion

  • If they “cannot fully comply with OSM attribution requirements” (excerpt from their email), they cannot use OSM.
  • We’re not happy with the way Apple/Mapbox do attribution.


  • Point them to the attribution guidelines and a possible implementation of splash screens for an embedded device is what they can see on hand-held navigation devices, where attribution is shown on system start-up.
  • They could show attribution when the user opens the map, before they start the activity and then is hidden.
  • Make sure they understand that the attribution guidelines includes safe harbor terms and if they are in compliance, they should be ok. Mention that we can point them to specific language bit cannot tell them how to meet the specific requirements. If they cannot meet them, they cannot use the data.

Action item: Tom Lee to draft a reply for the LWG to review.

Any Other Business

Serbia case

Tom Lee has asked for a change to the pull request to reflect the date.


  • Close this issue.
  • Discuss about developing a process for similar enquiries, as suggested by Paul Norman.

On defensive measures OSMF should take to protect the project from patent abuse - Request from the Board

This topic was proposed by the board after a patent was offered to OSMF by a community members.

Patent abuse: assertion of a patent by someone who claims to have a patent on something we are involved with.

Potential responses

  • Try to invalidate the patents / prove non-infringement.
  • Crowd-source defense money.

Potential preventative actions

  • Build a portfolio to counter-sue - not likely with OSM.
  • Engage in activism to make it impossible for someone to get a patent that would trouble us.
  • See if we can apply for membership/benefit for a defensive shield.

On likelihood of patent abuse

  • In case of OSM it is probably not an issue, but worth thinking about it.
  • Patent trolls are most likely to come after corporate users of the data, as they have money and makes coordinating defense much harder.
  • Most likely patent claim: automated data creation / capture processes for imageries.

Other points during discussion

  • Most US patent trolls wouldn't waste time on a non-profit without millions.
  • There was talk in the past about Bézier curves being used as part of data objects. Some proprietary operators have been doing it and might have patents at the time, that would make it difficult for us to do certain things.
  • 50% of patents are invalid if you challenge them.
  • In Europe if you lose a patent case, you pay the cost to the other side, which is a reasonable incentive.

Mapilio - Request from iD developer


  • Identify the objections.
    • contacting the person who commented on GitHub about licence incompatibility might take long.
  • Invite them to an LWG meeting.
    • Get what the real objections are, before inviting them.
  • Ask them to sign a CC waiver.
    • We have for CCBY not for CCBYSA.

Decision: Suggest to them to modify the wording regarding OSM, to make it clearer.

They might not be aware of potential incompatibility.

Email suggesting drafting policy for adding sources to copyright page

Related to email by Paul Norman.

Seems like the question is about a way for the website maintainers to make a decision on whether attribution should be added to the copyright page, without having to bounce it to the LWG.

  • Our precedent is that if some entity gives us good data that the community wants and the entity wants credit in good faith, we make it happen.
  • We should not be discriminatory on when we do it or when we don’t.
  • We need to have a content-managed way to have the copyright page updated and kept current.
  • The issue is related to the recent Serbia case.

On LWG involvement

  • Manual review process:
    • Advising on acceptability of the licence of the external data sets and decide whether the data can be used at all.
    • The review process is complicated and there’s no point to create a checklist.
  • Addition of sources to the copyright page: It’s not on LWG to say how to make the process efficient.

On addition of sources to the copyright page

  • It would be preferable to have a way to update the content automatically, rather than go to the sources and ask them to update their content.
  • If it looks that mentioning the data provider is strictly legally necessary and that a mention on the changeset comments is not enough, then if there are any questions the maintainers can contact LWG.
  • Issue of scalability.

On having a policy

  • Suggestion to develop lessons from the recent Serbia case and future ones, and turn best practices into a policy.
  • These cases are rare, so we can decide on an ad hoc basis, instead of working on a policy and pre-planning for every situation.
  • We’re looking at the licences, no way to formalise this.

Jim Vidano disconnected.

Suggestion: Reply that the review process is so complicated that there is no need to create a check list - the process will involve manual review by the LWG in any such case.

Action item: Tom Lee to reply.

Next Meetings

2023 LWG meeting dates:

Monday Jul 10, 1700 UTC
Monday Aug 14, 1700 UTC
Monday Sep 11, 1700 UTC
Monday Oct 16, 1700 UTC
Monday Nov 13 – back to 1800 UTC
Monday Dec 11, 1800 UTC
Monday Jan 08 2024, 1800 UTC

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 57' after the start.