Licensing Working Group/Minutes/2023-08-14

From OpenStreetMap Foundation

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


  • Kathleen Lu (Chairing)
  • Tom Hummel
  • Guillaume Rischard (OSMF board)


  • Dermot McNally
  • Jim Vidano
  • Simon Hughes
  • Tom Lee


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 Hughes’ 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.
  • 2023-06-12 Guillaume Rischard to ask Grant Slater about how to block addresses in OTRS.
  • 2023-06-12 LWG to suggest to Mapilio to modify the wording regarding permission to OSM, to make it clearer.
  • 2023-06-12 Tom Lee to draft a reply to Polar for the LWG to review [Ticket#2023050510000189]
  • 2023-06-12 Tom Lee to reply to Paul Norman regarding the suggestion to draft a policy for adding sources to the copyright page
  • 2023-07-10 Guillaume Rischard to ask Grant Slater regarding reducing the amount of spam on the privacy OTRS queue.
  • 2023-07-10 Tom Lee offered to delete spam messages on the privacy OTRS queue.
  • 2023-07-10 Dermot McNally to ask Guillaume about the contact details of the Latin American group, in order to contact them about Ticket#2023032410000272 – Asesoría
  • 2023-07-10 Tom Lee to add links ( to the email to Polar, send and cc LWG.

Reportage and action item updates

  • Suggestion: delete Simon Poole's action items.
  • Done: Talk to the UK lawyer about trademarks.

Any updates on reported attribution cases?

Reports in OTRS:

Trademarks – any updates?

  • Trademark renewal
    • a) Approval of fees for WIPO renewal, per Lawdit:
      • Our legal fee of £200.00 plus VAT per country therefore £1800.00 plus VAT
      • WIPO renewal fee 653 Swiss Francs
      • Countries renewal fee 2837.00 Swiss Francs
    • b) Are we still in touch with the US firm? Should we ask Lawdit to do the US renewal as well?
  • Guillaume - HOT trademark agreement update
  • Simon - Any new notices?

US trademark renewal

Dorothea had emailed the LWG reminding that the US trademark needs to be renewed by a specific date in 2024 and they could consider whether they want to start the process of gathering supporting evidence.

  • The US Trademark renewal was previously handled by a US company. Latest email in 2020, with an invoice.
  • European trademark renewals are handled by Lawdit.

Suggestion: Having the US trademark being handled by Lawdit, it might simplify things.

Trademark renewals

  • tend to be more complicated than WIPO renewals, because we have to show evidence of use.
  • there's a grace period even if you miss the due date.

WIPO renewal: Due in February.

Decision to pause this till early 2024.

Holdover items

Where to forward user deletion requests?

  • Kathleen created text for a template: `LWG - User deletion requests`.
  • Waiting for the addition of the missing attribution "love letter" on the OSM wiki, so that both OTRS templates can be added to the drop-down list at the same time by the OWG.

Template response to missing attribution reports

Dermot to:
Add love letter to or other page on OSMF wiki
And replace

Request from Board (Sarah Hoffman)

Tom Hummel (LWG) has responded to Sarah Hoffmann (board) and volunteered to also attend the meeting with a Belgian law firm tomorrow. Will report back to the LWG.

On contributors terms agreement

  • Biggest contract that we have to worry about potentially transferring.
  • No clause in the contributor agreement for assignment.
    • According to German law, this is always possible.
  • Need to emphasize that it's the only agreement that matters.


  • Ask Simon to join tomorrow's meeting, as he might know about European corporate law.
  • Update contributor terms:
    • The new entity would hold the database rights in OSM going forward.
    • Would need to keep the UK entity for around 20 years until the database rights of the UK entity held are expired.
    • Maybe could make the UK entity a subsidiary of the European entity

On updating contributor terms

  • Would need to notify everyone of the change in terms.
  • Would apply in future.
  • Update terms on the website and put notice on it.

On whether we can change the contributor terms without having people to agree

  • We would not be changing anything agreed in the past, only going forward.
  • We would have to:
    • notify everyone who has signed the contributor agreement of the change in terms and mention from which date (minimum: 30) the new terms will apply.
    • change the terms on the website.
    • add a notice/banner on the website.

By continuing to contribute to OSM after mappers have received advanced notice, they are agreeing to the new terms.

Other points mentioned during discussion

  • Lawyer: The lawyer probably does not understand what OSM is because otherwise they would be only talking about the contributor terms.
  • Privacy: We would have to figure out privacy for the transfer.
  • Servers: Most servers are already in the European Union.
  • UK entity: The UK entity probably can't be dissolved.
  • Licence: The licence could be changed - it would require a vote.
    • It's such a painful process to manage.

Queries to legal-questions

Ticket#2023032410000272 – Asesoría

Dermot to make connection.

Ticket#2023081110000064 — First party websites as sources

On big chains with a single website that lists all of their locations

  • Their location data is a database.
  • In most countries, there's no copyright on things such as addresses and URLs.
  • Upload of scrapped data into OSM, it has no legal impact on us - people are doing it based on their own jurisdiction.

On individual businesses with information such as opening hours on their website

  • Businesses have no intellectual property rights on such information.
  • Not a database - just one data point.

Other points mentioned during discussion

  • The legal status of scraping is not clear everywhere.
  • Most companies will be fine with their opening hours being available on OSM.
  • There seemed to be a recent request by a church to remove data.
  • LWG are the arbiters of what is accepted into OSM.

LWG official position
Copying the opening hours of a business from its own website is fine. There are no copyright rights in factual information like opening hours. There's no investment in the database for a business for its own opening hours, because that is something that the business has to have for its purpose of operating. A business does not have additional investment in a database, so there are no database rights to protect. Scraping/spidering is legal in many jurisdictions, including the US. Even where the legal status of scraping is uncertain, it does not impact whether or not OSM can use the resulting data - it's just a matter of the personal risk of the person running the scraper.

All LWG members that were present voted in favour of the following:

LWG official position on thread
From a legal risk perspective, we do not consider accepting this information to be a legal risk to OSMF and therefore DWG is not going to revert these edits.

Action item: Kathleen to write back that LWG voted this is okay.

Any other business

Email with complaint that OSM is used to display on a map supposed incidents where foreigners might have become perpetrators of crimes

Email received with complaint that the German far right AfD party uses OSM to display on a map supposed incidents where foreigners might have become perpetrators of crimes.


  • Background: OSM data with overlay.
  • Is using Stamen (map design) and StadiaMaps (tile serving) – StadiaMaps is currently becoming an OSMF Corporate Member.


  • Could ask the OWG to block their use of our tile servers, if they're using OSMF tiles.
  • Creating an official process for blocking tile use by people who are not attributing despite being asked or their use of our services damages our reputation.

Other points mentioned

  • Previous case of a website using OSM data helping people to find refugee housing to attack them. We stopped serving them tiles and contacted subsequent tile providers they used.
    • Criminal use.

Action item: Kathleen to contact Stamen and Stadia Maps.

Confidential topic 1

Request to not be minuted.

Confidential topic 2

Request to not be minuted.


Previous suggestion to have a Captcha on a web-form for emails to to reduce the span.

Issue: Captcha might not be GDPR compliant (obstructing communication, Article 12, probably paragraph 2).

  • Most of the spam is coming through email, so having a Captcha wouldn't help.
  • OSMF needs better spam filters.


Attribution topics on hold until the attribution love letter template is ready.

Next Meeting

2023 LWG meeting dates:

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 53' after the start.