Category Archives: Legal

License change update: getting it right

With the new server successfully installed by our sysadmin team, we’re now onto the second part of our migration – the data ‘redaction’ work required to move to the Open Database License. We promised our first progress report next week, but lots of people have been asking, so here’s an update four days early.

The code changes to the OpenStreetMap API have been completed and successfully reviewed. is therefore ready to distribute the new data. (Thanks to Matt Amos for the code and Tom Hughes for the review work.)

The next part is the ‘redaction bot’. This is the piece of code that, for an area of OpenStreetMap data, goes through and redacts (removes/hides) any data that isn’t compatible with the new licence. This is the most crucial part of the whole process: we aim not to retain data whose creators haven’t given permission for it to be distributed under the Open Database License, and conversely, not to inadvertently delete anything from the vast majority which is compatible.

Since Wednesday we’ve been running tests against real-world data (thanks to Frederik Ramm for help with this). We’re not yet 100% happy with the results, so we are continuing to work on the code. As you would expect, we will not set the bot running until we are absolutely confident that it is producing accurate results. With the four-day Easter weekend just beginning, we currently expect that this will be next week. This puts us a few days behind schedule, but we owe it to our mappers to get this right.

If you’re a developer, you can help fix the currently failing tests: check out the code at If you’re a mapper, this gives you a few more days to get your area shipshape! And if you’re a data consumer, you can, of course, continue to use the data under our existing license, CC-BY-SA 2.0.

We’ll have a further update next week and, in any case, before the bot starts running.

Contact and Remap

A message from Michael Collinson and the Licensing Working Group

“Hi everyone,

We ask OSM mappers to check their local mapping areas, try and contact anyone who has not decided about re-licensing and then do as much remapping as you can. Please do this in good faith and not just copy things created by contributors who have declined or undecided! You can use information contributed by continuing mappers, resources like Bing imagery and your own knowledge. If you are mapping in Poland or the Czech Republic, please also note that we are aware of special issues that makes this difficult for you right now.

We would like to switch over licenses in two months time. In order to do that, un-relicensable data has to be removed from the active database, though it will remain in publicly available archives. The latest indications are that 1.9% of ways will likely not survive the license change and a further 0.6% may have to be reverted back to an earlier state.

We would like to decrease that still further.

Your mapping area may be much worse or much better. You can use the license change view on OSMinspector and zoom into your area (Information on this tool). You can then click on Potlatch or JOSM icons to find out more and to do remapping. More info

We ask that you look at your areas and contact undecided mappers via the OpenStreetMap messaging system or directly if you know them. So that they do not get bothered too many times, please log who you contacted on this wiki page

This page also has example messages in different languages. Ask undecided mappers to please log into their account and accept even if they no longer wish to continue mapping as their previous contribution is important to you. Contact from someone mapping in the same area is very useful.”


The text of this posting can also be found at Remapping/Contact And Remap Campaign. Please feel to simplify it to help non-native English speakers and to translate it into other languages.

Original mailing list post

ODbL permission granted logoThe Licensing Working Group has obtained explicit special permission to incorporate geographic datasets from in the OpenStreetMap project database published under any free and open license, including ODbL, provided that…
a) we provide primary attribution in a reasonable manner (currently the Attribution wiki page), and…
b) that we explicitly list there each dataset used to give useful feedback within the Australian government on how folks are using open data.

We have been careful to point out that (under ODbL) we are not asking folks who make visual maps from OpenStreetMap to provide secondary attribution to each and every contributor, so would not be in compliance with the CC-BY Australia 2.5 and 3.0 license their data is normally provided under. They have raised no objection to this.

The LWG would like to publicly thank both for providing open geographic data and for providing this permission.

(Message on the talk-au mailing list from Grant Slater of the License Working Group)

License change phase 4 coming soon

Just announced on legal-talk[1] is that Phase 4[2] of the license change process is scheduled for this Sunday, 19 June 2011. During Phase 4, the 166,000+ contributors who have accepted CT/ODbL will be able to edit. That is, the 406 contributors who have declined CT/ODbL will not be able to edit after phase 4 has begun.

Those who have declined with their existing account may reconsider or may open a new account to continue editing. Those who have already accepted should be unaffected by the move to Phase 4.

If you have an unexpected problem with editing, please see #osm-dev on IRC[3].

[3] use your favorite IRC client for #osm-dev on, or the web client at

List of relicensing accounts

Matt Amos, of the OpenStreetMap Foundation Technical Working Group, announced the publication of the list of accounts accepting ODbL/CT.

as part of the voluntary relicensing phase of the move to ODbL,
existing contributors have had the ability to voluntarily accept the
contributor terms. to help the community assess the impact of the
relicensing it was planned to make the information about which
accounts have agreed available. this will help with the evaluation of
the process and analysis of any consequent data loss, should the
switch be made. at the last LWG meeting, having been put to the board
for approval, it was decided to make this available [1], and i’m
pleased to announce that this list is now up [2] and being regularly
refreshed from the database every hour.

i look forward to seeing the new analyses, visualisations and tools
that can be built using this data.




Matt’s announcement on mailing list can be found in the archives,