Discourse, screenshot, image, attribution, workflow, best program?

A good point to ask!
The question says also, it is not clear to everyone and my topic post was also a kind of provoke to get a clear answer to all of us and the driving force, it is too much work.

When we use a licence, not matter which as a organisation, if it is ODbL or CC or else, we have to obey the intentions of the licence developers and the resulting legal use.

And not make our own rules inside the organisation, where a part has been published for public view, like this forum. The discussion, data in the loop of your own organisation and licence rules.

I agree with @yvecai

The @jleedev postlink give also thoughts about this issue.

We can not use it our own way.
This reflects on the value of the used licence, if everyone does a bit differently, what is the value of the licence?
We owe it to the licence organisation to use it properly.

There several Openstreetmap contributers, that write to the newspapers ( journalist) or companies with documentation on the web and ask for proper attributtion.

And then we do not do it within our own organisation. That is conflicting.

Then I come to the point, I earlier mentioned, should the moderators of this forum moderate that?
I think they should.

Also there are images, with not or partly have Openstreetmap in it.

“Good practice”

The bottleneck, a good workflow usable for everyone.
That is the purpose of this topic

The topic is moderated, changed from “General talk” to “Help and support”.
I hesitated to post between, “This Site Feedback” and “General talk”

The bottom line is, how to deal with attributtion in this forum.
A “This Site Feedback” item.

As you pointend.
A method to use, drag the mapview near the attribution and make a screenshot.
Did this with Greenshot. “Copy to clipboard” and paste CTRL-V in this post.

But sometimes you want only a part of the screen. To express a situation with tags.
“© OpenStreetMap contributors, data ODbL

I just figured out, that when Greenshot (on windows) is used.
“Capture region”, drag rectangle region, click “Open in image editor”, then copy a attribution image from website ( I use topicpost #1 Openstreetmap attribution image) or folder, go back to Greenshot editor on the editing field, paste Ctr-V the attribution image, voila, drag it to the place, you could use “hold shift” to make it bigger/smaller, tab File “Copy to Clipboard” and in this forum paste Ctrl-V, or save in a folder.

That is the shortest workflow I have seen so far for a single attribution placement. Easy adjustments for the image and other parts like text, draw line/rectangle and others.

Looked at it, I think it is not everyones thing.
Not as versatile as the Greenshot programme method. Single use image and expresions on the image.
More for standard and multiple image adjustments.

Other suggestions are welcome.

Also for other operating systems.

This is not the solution for everyone.

copyright by OpenStreetMap contributors, as seen on OpenStreetMap.org, is not sufficient for a static image.

You must also make it clear that the data is available under the Open Database License.

I agree due to the technical nature it is not suitable for everyone, unless someone writes and shares the script and it has some hints how to use it, but the imagemagick lib is available for a wide range of operating systems, including windows, macOS, linux, Android, Freebsd, etc.

My solution is to position image in way so that footer attribution is captured.

It is losing link and ODBL is not referenced at all. So is not 100% ideal, but better than most uses of OSM data.

it still is clearly violating the license because of not making clear that the data is available under the ODbL

1 Like


When I read this:

You must also make it clear that the data is available under the Open Database License. You may do this by linking to this copyright page. Alternatively, and as a requirement if you are distributing OSM in a data form, you can name and link directly to the license(s). In media where links are not possible (e.g. printed works), **suggest you direct your readers to openstreetmap.org (perhaps by expanding ‘OpenStreetMap’ to this full address) and to opendatacommons.org.

When you use instead for Openstreetmap, Openstreetmap.org as text (embedded attribution image) You do implement the condition:

You must also make it clear that the data is available under the Open Database License.

ODbL does not have to be mentioned as text, openstreetmap.org is enough.

or even, both correct “full address” is this openstreetmap.org/copyright (fail) shorted the name.
Discourse do not give /copyright. ( after a edit, elswhere in the post, it does automatically, strange)
only when code is used.


Learning to use discourse:
Using optional title and full adress



You must also make it clear that the data is available under the Open Database License.

ODbL does not have to be mentioned as text, openstreetmap.org is enough.

well it is on the osm.org copyright page and in the license:


in 4.3

4.3 Notice for using output (Contents). Creating and Using a Produced Work does not require the notice in Section 4.2. However, if you Publicly Use a Produced Work, You must include a notice associated with the Produced Work reasonably calculated to make any Person that uses, views, accesses, interacts with, or is otherwise exposed to the Produced Work aware that Content was obtained from the Database, Derivative Database, or the Database as part of a Collective Database, and that it is available under this License.

a. Example notice. The following text will satisfy notice under Section 4.3:

Contains information from DATABASE NAME, which is made available
here under the Open Database License (ODbL).

one might argue that referring to osm.org/copyright satisfies the license requirement because an ODbL link is there in the first sentence

This is a very interisting discussion, but at this stage I would like to reflect to the question of @ westnordost (post #2):

Does it really make sense that we as OSM contributors, discussing OSM related issues in an OSM forum need to consider copyright and ODbl license matters in case we want to make use of any OSM carto screenshot in any of our posts?!?!

Even considering that as good practice as @ yvecai mentioned in post #3, in my understanding it would not add any value to the content of a post and is it not the content is what we are here for?


  • Screenshot with only screenshot of OSM Carto map.
    The discussion goes towards licence use inside the organisation because of , “fair use” and maybe “Right to quote”. Necessary?
    This depends on the country. Legal state of Openstreetmap. There are countries that have a “right to qoute” with: If a quotation is used, the source and creator of the work must always be acknowledged.

  • Screenshot combined imagery/data layers, with also CC licence, oustside organisation, good licence use in this forum.

The wiki is also a part of the organisation just as this community forum.
The same treatment when it comes to licences, I suppose.

Wiki:Media file license chart
A screenshot section.

How to attribute a screenshot of the wiki? Necessary in this forum?

  • The other discussion is what to use? The workflow easy to use for all in all cases. Program?

  • Which attrtibution images or text to use, with the correct attribution, if needed. For download or on a website to copy and paste. Collect, website/ data base, a wiki page?

I don’t think that the Wiki article contains anything particularly secret, so I think it will be enough to give a link to the article from which the screenshot was taken.

as the wiki licence is cc-by-sa, for a wiki screenshot as a formal requirement you’d have to mention the license and all the authors and link the full license text. :man_shrugging:

Regardless of your musings here, I can guarantee that nobody (i.e. very few) users will go through the effort of adding the attribution text to every screenshot they make to discuss things that are visible on an OSM map.

If this is going to be a problem for the OSMF, I suggest to put an appropriate copyright note at the footer of each page on this forum. But whether they find this necessary is for the OSMF to decide and execute.


@Allroads, with Flameshot you can watermark an image like this:

Draw a filled rectangle with white fill color. Then use the text tool. You can type (C) if that’s easier than Ⓒ. By using the mouse scroll wheel up or down you can adjust the text size so it fits the rectangle.

But you can not copy/paste pre- writing text from a notepad page or a website when the Flameshot screen is active.

I agree with you, many will not do it.
It is not only about a screenshot of a OSMmap (which I used as a example) There lots of other layers/images screenshots that need attribution. (aerial layers, data layers)

You can not do it for all. There are always layers, that need attribution.

It cannot be that we do not do use attribution in this forum at all.

This topic is about finding out what is a properly attibution on the forum.
A good workflow for on the forum use and also use beside the forum.

This is an interesting question. Like others, I’m worried that users may not take the time and will not be cautious enough to add the licence and attribution to every screenshot.
I think we should search for the best workflow that fulfills this condition by design. By this I mean that we should provide a tool to users to include the attribution correctly without them having to type it. The screenshot near the right bottom corner is a good idea, but not enough based on previous answers. It is nothing more than a workaround solution for me; this is not satisfying enough.

On the right of the https://www.openstreetmap.org/ page, there is a Share button which can be used to download the current screen in several formats. Sadly, the result does not have any attribution.
I think the best solution would be to make an improvement on this existing functionality, by adding a mention similar to the one on the right bottom and completing it with the licence.
I think users would be a little more encline to use this Share functionality doing the attribution automatically than having to type it themselves, without forgetting the licence. At least I think the ones who are aware about the licence and would like to respect the conditions if it’s not too tedious to do it could be willing to follow this process. This looks like an improvement to me.
I also like the idea to only use https://www.openstreetmap.org/ to respect the licence, and not directing the users to use Greenshot or whatever program to have a chance to respect all the conditions.
The workflow would then be:

  • Click on Share
  • Choose your options: zone to capture, image format, scale, etc.
  • Click on Download

You then have a file that respects all the conditions.
You can then use another program to annotate it, or directly insert it in any forum.

This kind of functionality should also be encouraged in any other OpenStreetMap client.

Side note: I tried this Share functionality to the scale of a country first, and I had a timeout as a result. Maybe the performance could also be improved to be useful in every situation.

1 Like

For OSM only map images:
Answer legal OSMF.

As per the Attribution Guidelines, “if multiple static images appear on the same document, one instance of attribution is sufficient.” Thus, for a forum like this one devoted to OSM, a website footer message of “map images are from OpenStreetMap unless otherwise noted” is sufficient, without need to label the images individually.

This is a screenshot from the Licence/Attribution Guidelines page.

For not OSM map images:

individual, check licence images.

1 Like

Control, a task of the moderators?

1 Like

Does it make sense/feasible to auto-append license info to the picture’s metadata if nothing exists when it is added to one of the OSM sites. Might be worth adding a license check when posting pictures and other media. Users could re-licensing material before being able with an incompatible copyright.