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Is it okay to use information listed on a business's website such as their hours and street address to add map tags? If so, should that website be cited with the "source" key?

asked 02 Mar '14, 22:51

paulvarnell's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 03 Mar '14, 15:47

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦


@paulvarnell: could you please comment if you were meaning the legal issues (copyright)?

(03 Mar '14, 15:26) aseerel4c26 ♦

Yes, my main concern is whether this information is considered to be copyrighted.

(03 Mar '14, 15:45) paulvarnell

Regarding your question part about copyright: I just found the older question adding-metadata-using-websites which is about the same issue. So, in principle this question should rather focus on the source tagging but not on the "am I allowed" part since it is already covered by the older question.

meta: I hate that moving stuff around is so hard in this OSQA software …

(03 Mar '14, 15:49) aseerel4c26 ♦

To answer your question part about the source tagging: yes, as in general, you should (some people may tell you that you could do but not that you should) mention the source, because it is useful to other mappers to know where you got that info from. Also see Key:source. But I think it is not a legal requirement, as we think the extracted information is not protected by a copyright (and e.g. no license is to be respected). (The aforementioned applies to cases were it is thought to be allowed at all.)

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answered 03 Mar '14, 15:57

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 03 Mar '14, 16:04


Here I usually add 'WWW' to the changeset source and of course I tag the website link as so it can be reconstructed, that my edits don't rely on a visit.

(03 Mar '14, 16:43) iii

It depends on the website and what data you're extracting.

If you're using (not a real website) to get the address of Brian's Friendly Flower Shop, which only has one shop, you're probably ok.

If you're using to get the address of every single Tesco in Britain, that's probably not ok. That would very possibly count as a significant extraction from a database under the terms of the EU Database Directive. In practice Tesco might not mind (it's in their interests to be on the map), but you'd have to get permission from them first.

If you're using a business directory website to systematically extract addresses, that's definitely not ok. It'll be an extraction under the Database Directive, and it'll be against the terms and conditions of that website.

In addition, never take position data (lat/long) from third party shop websites. Such data is rarely collected by hand with a GPS, and much more often collected by geocoding against a copyrighted datasource such as Google Maps. Including this in OSM would be a further infringement.

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answered 03 Mar '14, 15:37

Richard's gravatar image

Richard ♦
accept rate: 18%


In addition, a surprising number of websites have disclaimers at the bottom similar to this one ("The extraction of any photographic or written material from these pages without permission is expressly forbidden"). In that case the web site's owner clearly doesn't think that it's OK to copy the data, so we shouldn't.

(03 Mar '14, 15:50) SomeoneElse ♦

I guess there is not a general agreement in 100% of the community, but at least for me it is ok to make use of a companies address, opening hours, ... that you can gather from their website.

My argumentation is: If it's legal/ok to use this information, if see it on a label in front of a shop and you take a picture and copy the content later to OSM, then it's also ok for a website, which acts IMHO as some 'window to the publicity' here. So in both cases the original company is the author and the presentation of this infos itself in the public is an agreement that everybody can copy, use and share this (very limitied and non creative) information.

But pay attention, this doesn't include lists of companies or portals like yellow pages. And of course, this is my understanding of laws here in Germany ;)

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answered 03 Mar '14, 14:12

iii's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

Agree, I see it as a virtual survey which extracts some pieces of data (sometimes when surveying reality I only take note of the website address of a shop and look up the correct spelling of the name and opening hours there, later at home). Also there is no database which is copied (what would(!) be the case for yellow pages or other business listings, maybe even facebook pages).

(03 Mar '14, 15:24) aseerel4c26 ♦

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question asked: 02 Mar '14, 22:51

question was seen: 10,482 times

last updated: 03 Mar '14, 16:43

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum