In the section on the merchandise in the Attribution Guidelines, the phrase “to the extent possible” is used.
“Physical merchandise with an aesthetic component using OpenStreetMap data must provide attribution on any packaging, at the point of sale, and, to the extent possible, somewhere on the item itself.”
Certain community members are debating what levels of request this wording “to the extent possible” would be.
Does anyone know if there was any discussion on the establishment of the guidelines? Or is there a best practice?
- Member A: Attribution on the product itself is a ‘Better to have’ clause. It is necessary to state that OpenStreetMap data is used in packaging, sales websites, tags, etc., but attribution to the product itself is not necessarily mandatory.
- Member B: Attribution on the product itself is mandatory and should almost always be implemented, except in special cases such as when the product itself is too tiny.
The interpretation of the context of the English text differs between the two of the members. That could be very simple for a native English speaker to understand, but we would be happy to hear your opinion.
Story behind :
A company sells smartphone cases printed with OpenStreetMap data.
There is a notation on the product packaging and website of the case stating that it uses OpenStreetMap data, but there is no notation on the case itself.
Members are discussing whether the operators should be requested to provide a notation on the case itself.
IANAL, but in my experience:
is definitely the correct one.
The full quote from attribution guidelines is:
Physical merchandise with an aesthetic component using OpenStreetMap data must provide attribution on any packaging, at the point of sale, and, to the extent possible, somewhere on the item itself. For example, merchandise may provide attribution text in the vicinity of the image, or on the item’s label or tag. The text must be readable and include the URL
openstreetmap.org/copyright printed out.
So, it basically says one must “provide attribution […] (to the extent possible) somewhere on the item itself”.
Which means, one must put attribution on the item itself if it is physically possible, and when it is not physically possible (e.g. because item itself is too small for such text to be readable), one must provide it in readable form as close as they can to the item (on item’s label, tag, etc.)
I.e. the meaning of the modifier “to the extent possible” to that must clause is simply that you may be exempt from that rule only if thing being required is impossible to do (keyword being “impossible” meaning “not possible” – and not “inconvenient” nor “I don’t feel like doing that” etc. as Member A seemed to imply).
If that modifier “to the extent possible” was not present to modify that “must” (and with example clarification following it explaining what to do), what would happen in case when item is to small to print URL in readable font on it:
- you wouldn’t be able to comply with attribution requirements,
- and thus would be completely prohibited from making/selling such product.
Thank you so much, that’s very clear!
And, as I checked the minutes of LWG, there are several draft principles for approach and suggestions.
We would like to contact the company.
I am sorry for asking so many questions.
I am now discussing with a business owner how to do attribution labelling.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to add the attribution text on their product itself from a technical and cost perspective.
So, we are planning to set the Attribution in the packaging of the product, and by packing together a card or tag with the product when it is sold.
I think this would fulfil the condition stated in the Guidelines “For example, merchandise may provide attribution text in the vicinity of the image, or on the item’s label or tag.”
Do you have any comments from @Matija_Nalis 's point of view?
Well, there is always “cost perspective” that people would like to avoid. Licence terms and their cost should be taken into account when developing product and determining its end price, though. Failure to do so is always a business risk.
Back to your specific issue - what is exact technical problem? How big is the product? In what way it incorporates OSM data? What is exact difficulty with providing attribution on the item itself (apart from extra cost which is taken for granted, of course)?
I’m not a lawyer (much less your lawyer ), but you should provide more information before anyone can even try to guess if “to the extent possible” clause might possibly give the business owner some leeway.
Thank you for your comments.
As you point out, it may be better to discuss further details elsewhere rather than here.
While it needs detailed information to resolve the issue, disclosing such information could lead to the identification of the target company, and as stated in the OSMF board’s minutes, ‘name and shame’ needs to be avoided.
I recently checked the LWG page and found a contact point for legal questions.
I will try to contact them there for content related to the company.
And the answers given by @Matija_Nalis were very informative and so helpful in sorting out the issues.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
(By the way, I am not a company stakeholder either. As a member of the Japan Chapter, I am in the role of bridging and coordinating the opinions of the Japanese community, which is quite troubling ).