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Let's say that I run a web-based mapping service which performs various analyses of OSM data on behalf of its clients. As part of this service, I allow users to extend and edit the OSM data, but my tool limits the visibility and use of these edits to just the user or user's organization (assuming user is operating on behalf of a business entity in a work-for-hire arrangement). Further, there is an explicit agreement between my business and the user that the copyright of user-produced edits belongs to the user/user's business.

I'd agree that my tool should properly attribute OSM to the user. However, as a host to the user's data and as the host/developer of the tool which the user is utilizing to perform their edits, am I considered to be distributing a produced work to the user? That is, am I forced to redistribute their edits upon request? Does the situation change at all if I have an explicit agreement which states that I'm operating as the user's agent with respect to modification/storage of this data?

Editing to include some background and my own thoughts on the matter:

I ask this question not to identify a loophole in the open data license, but to verify that open data should be (and per the answers below, is) compatible with privacy, even in the face of a derivative work.

Specific examples of this might be certain human-optimized routes which might provide a competitive edge, or perhaps street data about private/secure locations which was produced as an extension of existing ODbL-license data.

I think to be a good member of the community, such services have a responsibility to educate their users on ODbL data, and how that pertains to sharing of produced works. Vendors should provide tools which support distribution should the user choose to open their private data. This should allow users to very easily retrieve an OSM file or similar, which contains all, or a subset, of their private data. It could also allow users to mark data as "no longer private" so that the SaaS/PaaS vendor may service third party requests to the data.

asked 25 Mar '14, 09:42

benjamincburns's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 25 Mar '14, 21:02

The LWG just covered this scenario see (item 7)

further reference ODbL definition of "publicly":

“Publicly” – means to Persons other than You or under Your control by either more than 50% ownership or by the power to direct their activities (such as contracting with an independent consultant).

General note: this is not a free pass to circumvent the ODbL, it just shifts the responsibilty for access to the derivative database to the customer of the SAAS service. If for example the customer publicly uses the data the normal ODbL terms would apply. Note it further assumes that the SAAS provider is using essentially unmodified OSM data (see trivial transformations), if he is actually providing a derivative database as a base for his service that would naturally be publicly used.

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answered 25 Mar '14, 15:03

SimonPoole's gravatar image

SimonPoole ♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 25 Mar '14, 16:12

I had written an earlier response that seems to be in conflict with the LWG's opinion, and removed that response so that it doesn't show up on top.

(25 Mar '14, 15:08) Frederik Ramm ♦

"if he is actually providing a derivative database as a base for his service..." - that is, if the service provides non-trivial edits to OSM data to any of its users, those edits must be shared - correct? My understanding however is that if the user owns the copyright in this situation, it'd instead be "two or more" entities, instead of one or more? Or does it not matter if there's a previous work-for-hire arrangement in place - if the SaaS/PaaS generated the non-trivial edit, it still must be shared?

(25 Mar '14, 22:01) benjamincburns

The ODbL requires you to provide your derivative database that you have publicly used to your audience on request. It is up to the recpient if he wants to in turn distribute that further, but you are not required to make the derivative DB public (normal use of the term). I'm not convinced that this makes a big difference in practice.

This however has nothing to do with any deriviative databases the potential users of such a service have produced, there again it depends on if the customer has publicly used the DB.

(25 Mar '14, 22:10) SimonPoole ♦

Or, to say it differently - the case of SaaS-provided non-trivial edits is very clear where those edits are accessible to two or more unrelated users. I'm asking about the situation where there's a SaaS-provided non-trivial edit expressly performed by the SaaS as the user's agent. I don't think in that case it's possible for the ODbL to override work-for-hire rules, is it?

(25 Mar '14, 22:12) benjamincburns

That was already answered in full in my original answer.

(25 Mar '14, 22:13) SimonPoole ♦

Sorry - didn't see your response...

(25 Mar '14, 22:24) benjamincburns
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question asked: 25 Mar '14, 09:42

question was seen: 25,011 times

last updated: 25 Mar '14, 22:24

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