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

I am planning to make an atlas via a GIS software using some OpenStreetMap data, other public domain data as well as data I personally own, and I intend to publish and sell the book. I have added the appropriate copyright text and license below each map that uses the OSM data. Will I be compelled to release the book under the Open Database License, thus, relinquishing copyright of the book? My understanding is that as long as I add the attribution and the license of the OSM data, then I will still be able to copyright the book.

asked 12 May '21, 21:23

JAT86's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

A basic distinction in the ODbL is that between derivative databases on one hand, and produced works on the other.

Derivative databases need to be shared under the same, open license as the OSM database. Produced works – which notably include map images made from OSM data – have no such restrictions.

So yes, creating a copyrighted book with printed maps based on OSM data is allowed and welcome as long as you provide proper attribution to OSM and its license.

There is one potential complication here, which is that you are using other data sources, and I can't entirely rule out that what you're doing involves creating a derivative database as part of the production of your atlas. Generally speaking, using different types of data from different sources isn't an issue, and neither is "layering" data on top of each other, or editing the produced work, such as moving map labels around. But if you're fixing gaps or errors in OSM data by filling in data from other sources, you would approach derivative database territory (and we'd ideally like to have those corrections in the OSM database).

As usual, all of this is just my personal gut feeling as an individual OSM contributor, I'm not a lawyer, I'm not speaking on behalf of the OSM Foundation.

permanent link

answered 13 May '21, 11:56

Tordanik's gravatar image

accept rate: 35%

This is an excellent answer.

(13 May '21, 12:51) Richard ♦

As you are not publishing a database, you are not compelled by the ODbl, as far as I understand it.

But you have to respect the licence of the tiles you're using though. Usually the attribution is enough.

If you combine several sources, including OSM, to make some maps, you might have to publish the resulting dataset (not the visualisation) as ODbl, somewhere on the web. But I'm a bit fuzzy on this part.

Ultimatly, it all depends on whether you're using OSM's data directly, or tiles.

Hope this helps.


permanent link

answered 12 May '21, 22:52

H_mlet's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

Thanks for the response and info. I will be using only the data such as roads, waterways, and coastline, and would not be using the tiles in the book at all. I am confused about the "dataset" part you previously mentioned. Would you mind clarifying? Thank you.

(13 May '21, 01:10) JAT86

I think Tordanik's answer is clearer on what I meant. If you modify OSM data, the resulting data should be published as ODbl, and as said contributed back if relevant.

But if the different sources are independent layers, attribution should be enough.

Maybe an email to the Licensing Working Group would give you a more solid answer.


(13 May '21, 12:42) H_mlet

Your scenario reminds me of one described in the OSMF FAQ under the heading "What do you mean by Share-Alike?" and the subsidiary question "What exactly do I need to share?". If the FAQ doesn't help you might be in "What should my lawyer look at?" territory (I'm not one of those so your guess is as good as mine).

permanent link

answered 13 May '21, 03:18

InsertUser's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text]( "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported

Question tags:


question asked: 12 May '21, 21:23

question was seen: 1,392 times

last updated: 13 May '21, 12:51

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