(Copyright/License related) What are needed to use map based images for a mobile game app? Any requirement to give up the app source code or contents to be public?

I am considering to use some images that show maps for a trivia quiz mobile app.
Those maps do not require detailed point of interests inside cities, but those are the maps of larger areas that show locations of countries, cities, moutains, rivers etc., I am considering to get some simple base map images, change the appearence of them, and put some texts and arrows on them and use them as png or svg files embedded in the mobile app.
(For example, the app page shows a map image with texts of “A”, “B”, “C” on different locations, and in a textbox outside of the map, there is a question string saying “where is Paris? choose from A~C”)

As the base map images, the map data from OpenStreetMap is a natural candidate, but the copyright and license terms are the concern for using OSM. That is why I am posting here for the confirmation (if other place is better for this confirmation, it would be helpful to know that)

When I see the copyright page (OpenStreetMap), I found there are two requirements as below:

  1. Provide credit to OpenStreetMap by displaying our copyright notice.

  2. Make clear that the data is available under the Open Database License.

The first one is straightforward to me. I understand it is required to put “C OpenStreetMap contributors” string on each of the map images or write that string somewhere inside the app (ex. the credits page) as mentioned in the guidelines ( Licence/Attribution Guidelines - OpenStreetMap Foundation (osmfoundation.org))

The second point is not so clear for me and this is the concern for me. Firstly, I am concerned how and where (ex. whole app or particular data) the “Open Data License” is applied and how this license may bring any risks to my full ownership of the (commercial) app and the contents , in other words, I am concerning about any “copyleft” risk caused by using OpenStreetMap derived images. Does this license mean, if an app uses images that originally derived from OpenStreetMap data, the app is required to disclose the entire source code to be opensource (ex. on github)? Or the trivia quiz contents (partially or wholly) can be freely copied (by screenshot or other ways) and distributed by the users? This is the point I would like to confirm.
Secondly, what are needed to do to comply the second point? If there are good examples for similar mobile app use cases, I would like to know that. Also, if there are any previous bad examples that caused any issues in the past, it is also helpful (only if any)

Thank you for your advice.


Warning: I am not a lawyer.

There is absolutely no risk of that.

Are you going to also make answers/questions based on OSM data? Or is OSM used solely to illustrate locations?

Something that is definitely sufficient: show “map data (C)OpenStreetMap, on ODBL” linking back to OpenStreetMap in corner of each map.

It is enough to provide less visible attribution, as long as users will definitely encounter it (hiding it in settings is not enough, hiding it behind hidden button like FB is doing is not enough). For example some apps mention and credit OSM on startup screen - but that is OK if even on future, vastly faster hardware, startup screen will be visible for long enough to be able to read it.

For example in app you can see for example Wikimedia Commons Android app.

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thank you for your prompt reply. very appreciated.
I understand about noteing the attribution.

Are you going to also make answers/questions based on OSM data? Or is OSM used solely to illustrate locations?

→ Honestly, I still do not fully understand what is the definition of “OSM data” here (i.e. what is OSM data? and more importantly, what is NOT OSM data? since for me, anything from OSM looks “data”), but what I expect is using some shapes of continents, seas, rivers etc. from OSM. For example, the app page shows a map image which shows seas and contintents/islands with texts of “A”, “B”, “C” on different points on the map, and in a textbox outside of the map, there is a question string saying “where is Paris? choose from A~C”. No need of detailed streets data, shops data, etc.,.

Also, what I am concerning more is about (2) “Open Data License”. What does this License mean? and where that is applied and where that is NOT applied?

Especially, following points are the concerns.

Q: If I use anything from OSM, do I need to disclose the whole app as open source? (like GNU license?)
Q: If I use anything from OSM, do I need to accept some users copy the map images (and contents related to the images) which I created based on the map shapes, and accept the users to distrubute the contents freely?
Q: Is there any risk someone will claim to share some profits from the app or anyone claim to change or unpublish the app later on?
Q: which part of my app will exactly belongs to “Open Database License” and which part will not?

Those are the points I feel not clear, and make me hesitate using OSM as for now.
Thank you.

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warning: I am still not a lawyer

definitely no, absolutely no, 100% no such risk

code processing and showing data is not affected by ODBL license

If you base your software on some existing software and copy code or use GPL library and so on then it may happen. But merely using OSM data is not going to cause this.

As usual, answer is “yes”. But using OSM data is not going to increase that risk, as long as you credit OSM.

Everything is OSM database is, well, data. I specified it as you can be also using OSM only as inspiration or using OSM software without using OSM data ( https://www.opengeofiction.net/ is doing this ) and so on.

I hope that someone else will appear and will explain it better than I can

Look in Open Data Commons Open Database License (ODbL) v1.0 — Open Data Commons: legal tools for open data for “Produced work” - you need to provide clear attribution (that it is based on OSM data available under ODBL). But as I understand it, you do not need to publish maps created using only OSM on open license. Additional complexity may apply when you used also other sources and edited them using OSM data, or edited OSM data using external data and created Derivative Database as result.