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My company looks for some maps engine for GPS tracking. We started looking at OSM as an option, but our hesitations arised when we've read in CC BY-SA license:

  1. "Licensor hereby grants You a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive..."
  2. "You may Distribute or Publicly Perform an Adaptation only under the terms of: (i) this License;"

Does it mean, I can't charge a customer for our tracking application while it uses OSM? (Adaptation must be royalty-free as the OSM is?).

asked 27 Apr '11, 13:51

pl_'s gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

No, it doesn't. You may charge for any OSM-derived service if you wish to.

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answered 27 Apr '11, 14:46

Richard's gravatar image

Richard ♦
accept rate: 18%

Richard, I really appreciate your answer, but could you comment it a little bit especially regarding 'royalty-free' feature in CC BY-SA? Or to put it in other words - where's the mistake in my thinking?

(27 Apr '11, 15:02) pl_

It means the license for the data is 'royalty-free', so anyone who somehow obtained the data can freely use it, for example pass it on to anyone she likes for free. However, you can charge for the distribution or other services around the data, as well as for any parts that aren't directly derived from OSM, such as the actual tracking program, which can be fully propriataryly licensed

(27 Apr '11, 17:23) apmon

You should add that the company needs to have this text: "© OpenStreetMap contributors, CC-BY-SA"

(20 Oct '11, 21:48) Jonas_

at least you have paying GPS applications that definitely use OSM data, like Skobbler, Locus...

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answered 27 Apr '11, 16:27

Herve5's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%

Adding to the above (by Richard and Gnonthgol) my understanding about this:

Should you have any "specific" geo-data in your application you are free not to license that data under the CC-BY-SA nor the new license so long as that data is not based on or derived from OSM and you keep it separate from the OSM data (layers, placing POIs on top of OSM map, etc). In my thinking Google Maps mashups gives a useful analogy.

In fact, even if some of this "specific" data exists in OSM, but you (or only people who submit their contributions to public domain for that matter) have contributed that data to OSM (e.g. POIs) then you can still license your "specific" data with whatever license you prefer.

Should I be wrong about this I hope to be corrected. Not the least because this is how I've advised two commercial ventures about the issue.

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answered 28 Apr '11, 10:42

jaakkoh's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


You can charge a customer for your tracking application that uses OSM data, but you can not charge for the OSM data itself. The customer has to be able to download the OSM map free of charge under CC-BY-SA, but you can copyright the application and any other data not derived from OSM data.

You could even bundle the map with your application to allow ofline use, but you have to release the map and map updates under CC-BY-SA free of charge to both your customers and anyone else.

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answered 27 Apr '11, 15:03

Gnonthgol's gravatar image

Gnonthgol ♦
accept rate: 16%


Your first sentence is wrong. You can charge what you like for the OSM data. But once someone else has received it, or a Derived Work based on it, you can't prevent them from copying it for free.

(27 Apr '11, 16:00) Richard ♦

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question asked: 27 Apr '11, 13:51

question was seen: 6,546 times

last updated: 20 Oct '11, 23:08

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