Christchurch Metro GTFS CC-BY waiver declined

Posting this here for the record.

I asked ECAN Metro to sign the CC-BY waiver for their GTFS data, they declined.

Email exchange below (reply followed by original email)

Reply from Metro

Subject: RE: Seeking explicit permission to use Metro GTFS data in OpenStreetMap [#314BAD]
Date: Thu, 23 May 2024 04:27:42 +0000
From: Metro
To: Me

Kia Ora Eliot,

Thank you for your email. Environment Canterbury is unable to sign the permission form below. There are multiple users of the Metro GTFS data and Environment Canterbury wishes to have the same terms applying to each user, as provided for in Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 licence, and not have individual user variation to those terms.

While this email does not constitute legal advice on OpenStreetMap’s obligations under the Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 licence :

1 For the purposes of Section 3(a) of the Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 licence, the manner of attribution you describe below is probably sufficient to satisfy the attribution requirements.

2 In relation to Section 2(a)(5)(B), the downstream restrictions you refer to are not likely to be a common occurrence.

Noho Ora Mai,

Metroinfo Team

My request

*From: Me
*Sent: *Tuesday, 9 April 2024 11:31:13 am
*To: *
*Subject: *Seeking explicit permission to use Metro GTFS data in OpenStreetMap

Dear Metro,

Thank you for making Metro’s GTFS data (Developer resources | Metro Christchurch) available under the Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license.

I am a volunteer for OpenStreetMap, a collaborative open project to create a global geodata set freely usable by anyone on share-alike and attribution terms under the Open Database License (ODbL). In fact you already use OpenStreetMap map data on (Copyright | Metro Christchurch)

We’re interested in using the Metro’s GTFS data to improve OpenStreetMap, by keeping the bus route and stop information in the map up to date and consistent with Metro. This would happen using a combination of manual and automated comparison between your current data and the OSM map data.

In order to facilitate this, we need to confirm with you that Metro has no objections.

Your use of CC-BY-4.0 indicates that you intend for the data to be used freely, but there are two issues we would like to clarify.

First, because OpenStreetMap’s data comes from thousands of local volunteers as well as numerous government sources, attribution to all such sources on an OpenStreetMap-based map or similar visual display is impossible. Instead, we provide attribution (including original license information) to major sources like Metro on our Contributors page. OpenStreetMap users are then required to attribute “OpenStreetMap Contributors” in a collective fashion when using any OpenStreetMap data. CC BY’s attribution requirements are relatively general, so we just need you to confirm that you would consider OpenStreetMap’s attribution method to attribute Metro in a “reasonable manner” in accordance with Section 3(a)(1) of the CC BY 4.0 license.

You can see examples of other New Zealand entities that have given similar permission here Contributors - OpenStreetMap Wiki

Second, the ODbL and CC BY 4.0 have slightly different ways of addressing digital rights management technologies. The ODbL allows data users to apply technical protection measures to their own works so long as they also provide an unrestricted version of the underlying database, including their own additions (“parallel distribution”). In contrast, CC BY 4.0 can be read to prohibit any application of technical protection measures to databases that include CC BY material. This is a relatively minor difference in how the licenses are drafted, but means that in some cases, users who comply with ODbL might not comply with CC BY 4.0.

In practice, we have found that parallel distribution is an excellent way of ensuring open access to data while allowing flexibility in use. Thus, we ask that, to the extent CC BY 4.0 Section 2(a)(5)(B) prohibits any downstream restrictions even when parallel distribution is available, you waive this license restriction as to OSM and its users. This waiver would have no effect on [entity’s] original dataset and only pertains to the restrictions allowed on combinations of that data with OSM data.

Thank you for your consideration. If Metro is amenable, can you please check the form below and return a signed version to me?

If you have any questions or would like more information about OpenStreetMap, please do not hesitate to contact me by phone or e-mail.

Thanks and regards,

Eliot Blennerhassett
Local OSM Representative
36 Rapaki Road, Christchurch. Ph 02 11 18 35 31



Permission to Incorporate CC BY Data Into OpenStreetMap

With respect to GTFS data, Metro agrees to the following:

  1. Attribution by OpenStreetMap and its users through Contributors - OpenStreetMap Wiki is sufficient to provide attribution to Metro in a “reasonable manner” in accordance with Section 3(a)(1) of the CC BY 4.0 license.

  2. Metro waives Section 2(a)(5)(B) of the CC BY 4.0 license as to OpenStreetMap and its users with the understanding that the Open Database License 1.0 requires open access or parallel distribution of OpenStreetMap data.






Slight off-topic and a bit of a rant: it’s getting harder and harder to obtain permission, especially when OSM enforces to officially sign this waiver.

Here in the other side of the world (Brazil), almost 100% of entities uses either CC-BY 4.0 or Public Domain, which is in accordance to federal law (all government data must be open). Ironically, this makes it hard to comply with ODbL, which basically no-one here ever heard about.

Even when they give us permission, they get a bit surprised (and annoyed, I must say) when we can’t give them back any data, since ODbL contaminates their data, making them not compliant with federal law.

Loads of great data that we can’t use yet…


Not arguing, Matheus, just curious?

How does ODbL “contaminate” the data?

I’m not a lawyer, so I might say something wrong here.

Real case: municipality uses Public Domain license. They have great data, but in some cases, OSM might be more up to date. They got interested in using some tool to compare both data, and update theirs, on what’s missing or it’s slight worse (for example, bike lanes missing, or bus stops positioning improvement).

If they merge OSM data with theirs, their data can only now be released on ODbL license, per its share-alike rules (section 4.4).

In the second message here there’s some additional explanation.

So basically the government can use OSM for internal purposes, but can’t mix/improve data.

Edit: OSM USA came up with an interesting idea, to circumvent that: Public Domain Map | OpenStreetMap US

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Mixing will lead to having to use ODbL for the whole data set (minus
exceptions documented in
Licence/Community Guidelines - OpenStreetMap Foundation), but nobody
is keeping them from using OSM to spot (possible) flaws in their data
and then independently research and fix these flaws, e.g. by sending
someone to the location to look at something.

Of course not, but if we have great data, why can’t them be used straightforward, in the same way we use their data? :slight_smile:

Perhaps OSM could sign a waiver to governments that they can use our data for Public Domain reasons? I don’t think so, but we are still pushing that for them. Doesn’t seem fair to me.

Also, this also keeps them from using the great tools OSM have (apps, presets etc). For example, they would love to use tools like iD (draw data easliy) and EveryDoor (collect data in the field), but the data goes straight to OSM.

Of course, of course, they can hire someone to adjust those free tools to send data to their servers etc, but they have to spend money and time, which they often don’t have (if they did, they would already have a standalone tool for that). OSM loses, government loses, poeple lose.

Yes, this “unfairness” was a big topic during the license change and one
of the major arguments against choosing a share-alike license; but after
careful weighing of the pros and cons we chose a share-alike license
nevertheless so that’s what we have now and it is unlikely to change
again any time soon. The OSMF is not authorized to make exceptions for

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