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Author Topic: Licensing of these maps  (Read 8029 times)
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Fox
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« on: February 07, 2010, 01:21:02 am »

Jon,

I was wondering about the licensing terms of the maps.  Since many people contribute, I was wondering if the individual contributors maintain copyright after submission?  Or do we wave it?

Also, do you assert a copyright on them after you assemble them?

Fox

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Moun10Bike
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2010, 08:12:59 pm »

I'm no lawyer so my phrasing or terminology might be off, but I have no intentions of claiming ownership on submissions that people are gracious enough to upload.  To prevent outright theft, I do claim copyright on the assemblage of the data, though.

Is there anything in particular that made you ask this question?
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Jon
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2010, 11:57:11 am »

I'm no lawyer so my phrasing or terminology might be off, but I have no intentions of claiming ownership on submissions that people are gracious enough to upload.  To prevent outright theft, I do claim copyright on the assemblage of the data, though.

Is there anything in particular that made you ask this question?

Well, part curiosity, and part concern..   I used to code open source, so I was made aware of the issues regarding copyright and licensing and all that..  Also, someone stated to me that they mistakenly thought you were creating a for sale product.  Of course, after looking through your site, that's not the case, and you would have legality issues because people that submit data don't disclaim the copyright, and could technically lay claim to part of the revenue (if any)..  It would be, to say the least, a messy situation.  Also, you make claim to the copyright, but how can you copyright the submission that implicitly has a copyright from the original submitter?

Given all the work everyone (and mostly including yourself) is putting into this, I would hate to have people also make a claim against it.  Its definitely has value now, and will probably increase in value as you assemble more data.

What I would recommend is that you use the open source licensing framework and "open source" the maps.  That way, anyone else can use the maps in open source projects (maps) of there own.   There are several license frameworks..  Linux (GPL license) is the best if you want to make sure no one re-sells this data, but the BSD license would allow someone to sell it in a repackaged form, much like apple did with the OS X operating system, which is essentially a jazzed up BSD OS.

You would need to have people that submit tracks make a claim to the legality of them, and that they are submitting them as open source..  And you would probably need to distribute the "source code" of the maps..   But in doing this, it might be better for you legally..

I'm not a lawyer, but I would suggest paying some attention to this for your own good..  And, if the project is open source, people will probably be more willing to participate because it is hard to un-open source something, so they know their submissions will be for the public good..

You can read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source_license

Also, maybe check out what the other free mapping projects are doing for licensing.

I personally would love to see this as a GPL project..  Since you are essentially making computer code, I'm sure the license applies..



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Lightning Jeff
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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2010, 11:26:18 am »

Interesting topic. I AM a lawyer, and there's no way I could sort this out (not an intellectual property lawyer though it's an area of personal interest). I've certainly often wondered about the IP aspects of this project.

I have to question Fox's assertion or assumption that any of us submitters of data have any legal IP interest in the data we submit. Is a list of geo-referenced dots that our little handheld device creates as we walk a "work" under copyright law? Any more than if we had dropped physical breadcrumbs and called it a "work"? I don't know, but I think there are good reasons for saying it's not.

Then there's the question of whether we retain any such exclusive interest when we voluntarily choose to upload that data for use in a project we know we have no control over. I've always assumed that Jon could choose to license the data, and those of us who submitted data would have an uphill battle asserting that we didn't implicitly waive any exclusive interest in the data. My view is that we DO waive that interest - I certainly intend to, or else I wouldn't send it in!

Maybe Jon should make that explicit with a simple waiver on the submission form. Some might balk at that in the absence of some assurance that the data will never be used "commercially". Again, not me, and I doubt most of us would have any problem with that. I collect data on walks I'm going to take anyway. I can't sell the data myself, and heck, most of my data is probably of mediocre quality anyway, until Jon cleans it up. The real value in this project is not the individual tracks - you can get those at a site like RedTrails (ick). The value is the compilation. Jon alone adds that value, spending what must be countless hours of work to produce something I WOULD pay for - motivated by nothing more than his passion for the project. If Jon got paid for it, I'd say "good for him."

The bottom line is, I sure do hope things never get complicated on this front. What a shame it would be for the project to disappear over what really is a trivial legal issue (your or my interest in the little files we send Jon).
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Gsnorgathon
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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2010, 12:45:04 pm »

...Jon alone adds that value, spending what must be countless hours of work to produce something I WOULD pay for ...
On that subject, let me just put in a little plug for the donation button you can find on the home page and elsewhere on the site.  Smiley (There's a bunch of scripting hiding behind it, or I'd just put a direct link in.)
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