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Hi, firstly let me thank you for this great project. I have trouble understanding the OSM license for the following use case: If I make a couple of screenshots from OSM and use them to create an animation, which I will then use in a monetized online video, am I allowed to do so? What would the proper attribution be? Of course I would blend in "© OpenStreetMap contributors", but what else do I have to do?

I don't understand how exactly to implement the following part of the guidelines in a video:

You must also make it clear that the data is available under the Open Database License, and if using our map tiles, that the cartography is licensed as CC BY-SA. You may do this by linking to this copyright page. Alternatively, and as a requirement if you are distributing OSM in a data form, you can name and link directly to the license(s). In media where links are not possible (e.g. printed works), we suggest you direct your readers to (perhaps by expanding 'OpenStreetMap' to this full address), to, and if relevant, to

The other thing that I don't get is the ShareAlike. From what I have read, I will need to license my work under share alike as well. This raises two questions: 1) How to do so in a video 2) Would that mean that the whole video/documentary would have to be released under the share alike rules.

I'm sorry about all those questions, but I'm new to OSM and I haven't read any answers regarding the use of OSM in commercial videos. Thanks so much for your work.

asked 01 Nov '19, 23:02

videoimp's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

These are entirely valid questions, you aren't the only potential OSM user who has a hard time understanding the legalities. A few people in OSM (the License Working Group) are currently working on improving this situation and documenting our requirements a bit better, but that process isn't complete yet. So here's a rundown of the current situation.

  • Regarding attribution placement, you can have a look at the current draft of the upcoming Attribution Guideline. Note that the document isn't official yet and might change, but it's probably still useful because it's in large parts based on current practice, and that particular section on video has been pretty uncontroversial among the community so far.
  • The share-alike requirement for OSM data only applies to other map data, not works like images or video produced from that data. So you can publish your video under any terms you like, including non-open commercial terms. Unless you're improving OSM data before using it (e.g. by fixing incorrect information, in which case you'd have to share these corrections), this doesn't affect you at all.
  • Now, the part where it unfortunately gets a bit tricky is that there's a share-alike requirement for OSM tiles that's separate from the one for the data. If you are making screenshots from the tiles visible by default on, these screenshots will be licensed CC BY-SA. What this means for your video isn't entirely clear – there are examples of using CC BY-SA works in a larger whole (e.g. a book) that isn't itself CC BY-SA, but I have no idea if/how that legally works out for video. If you don't want to risk it, it is possible to produce the exact same images using the same software that's also used on (or pay someone to do it for you), which would definitely not be subject to CC BY-SA. Now, of course it's rather absurd that the images on come with extra requirements, but pixel-perfect replicas produced by your own installation of the same software do not, which is why there's talk of getting rid of the requirement described in this paragraph. But as of now, that's how it is. (I'm not aware that anyone has ever faced legal repercussions for ignoring this particular nuance of OSM licensing, though.)

I hope this answer helps. Feel free to ask for clarification in comments!

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answered 02 Nov '19, 21:14

Tordanik's gravatar image

accept rate: 35%

The presentation of map data on the website is only one of many displays possible. The map data and the display of the map data on the main page (the tiles have) separate licenses.

There is a legal mailing list where you may be able to get clarifications, but as with all things OSM, this is volunteer run.

I am not a lawyer and can't give you legal advice, but you might find the following useful in making up your own mind.

For the underlying map data

There is a legal FAQ here which contains questions specifically about the Share-Alike aspect.

For the tiles

I know of no specific FAQ for the tiles old versions of the map data used to be CC-BY-SA 2.0 and the FAQ mentioned above links to an old FAQ about that licence here.

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answered 02 Nov '19, 21:51

InsertUser's gravatar image

accept rate: 18%

Hi again, let me thank you for your detailed answers. They really helped me, however, I'm still unsure about what exactly triggers the share alike, which would be very difficult to implement in a video. The problem is that I don't intend to just show the map as it is, but an animation based on a screenshot of the map. For instance, let's say I have a map of an airport. Then let's put a little plane on it and animate it so it is taxiing on that map screenshot to a specific location on the map. That location would be outlined with a blinking rectangle for example. Or I put a separate tag pointing to as specific building on the map specifying the name of the building.

Now the problem is the part of what I have read in the FAQ (and my lack of understanding, which I'm sorry about ;).

If you correct or extend our data, you need to share your new data.

Now the question is whether that is an extension of data if I enhance a OSM screenshot with my own annotations and animations? Does that trigger Share Alike and if so, how to implement it in a video. I don't see a possibility to make share alike apply only to those 10 seconds of a video in which the map animation is being shown. It's either the whole video/documentary/film released under that terms of license or not I think.

On the other hand I have also read this:

However, if you have added to or enhanced our data in order to make the map, you must make those additions publicly available without charge. Also, anyone can extract the original data from the map, (such as latitude and longitudes, names of streets and places), without paying you or asking your permission. You can however, put separate and distinct data layers on top of your map, such as icons showing specialists points of interest, routes, track logs, shaded areas, contours and the like, then Share-Alike does not apply to these elements as long as they do not interact with the map underneath.

This raises the question, whether my example of a moving plane on the map has to be seen as an "interaction with the map underneath". In that case it would be difficult to use in media.

I appreciate very much the efforts of the OSM community to make the terms clearer. It would be definitely a good thing though if the permission guidelines would more specifically include media usage, because the whole topic is a legal minefield.

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answered 03 Nov '19, 02:27

videoimp's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 03 Nov '19, 02:30

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question asked: 01 Nov '19, 23:02

question was seen: 2,659 times

last updated: 03 Nov '19, 02:30

NOTICE: is being shutdown on 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum