The OpenStreetMap (OSM) project
has been looking into changing the license that covers its data for some time now. A new license—the Open Database License
or ODbL—was proposed
in February to replace the current Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike
LWN had a detailed look
at the licensing issues in October 2008, but the controversy goes back at least a year before that.
Creative Commons recently made some comments on ODbL that are rather critical of the license, at least for use by OSM; it would rather see OSM data reside in the public domain—as would a number of OSM contributors. "In general, we believe that the interests of both providers and users of data and databases, particularly in science, education, and other areas where the ability to exchange and re-use data freely is critical to achieving the objectives of the data exchange community, are best served by reducing unnecessary transaction costs, simplifying legal tools, and providing as much clarity and certainty to providers and users of their respective rights and obligations as the law allows." This seems likely to muddy the waters further, which may delay or change any OSM relicensing plans.
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