License for diary content?

Hi all. I am curious what the license is for the OSM diaries content? There’s no explicit mention on the diaries pages, nor is there an option to declare a content license when you post. Anyone here know?


I assume that regular copyright applies (fully copyrighted by authors).

why do you believe the contributor terms do not apply?

My guess is because the contributor terms talk about the geo-database, and you wouldn’t normally expect the diary entries to be in a geographic database.

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Why do you think they would? CT talk about

contributing data and/or any other content (collectively, “Contents”) to the geo-database of the OpenStreetMap project

unless this is poorly worded and includes non-geo content?

Sorry @EdLoach missed your comment, I was saying pretty much the same thing you already said…

it says it governs “the intellectual property rights in any Contents that You choose to submit to the Project in this user account.” i.e. everything OpenStreetMap but the wiki.

It also says something about “geodatabase” in the first sentence, and even if it were limited to geodatabasecontents the diaries would still qualify, as you can add a location to your post.


Asked on legal-talk as well, The legal-talk July 2022 Archive by thread

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I agree with Berrely

I certainly feel that the we should make users release diary content under a free licence before they publish.

I think dieterdreist’s reading is the most reasonable, so OSMF can hopefully just clarify the outbound license and clarify the posts are under cc-by-sa 2.0.

The current contributor terms give very wide latitude to OSMF:

This contributor agreement… clarifies the intellectual property rights in any Contents that You choose to submit to the Project in this user account.
Subject to Section 3 and 4 below, You hereby grant to OSMF a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable licence to do any act that is restricted by copyright, database right or any related right over anything within the Contents, whether in the original medium or any other.

The problem with all of this is that you are assuming that it is a good thing that other content would be covered by the contributor terms. There are a number of reasons why that is a bad idea, not to mention that any significant change to the CTs is from a practical pov near impossible, so it is unlikely that the OSMF would move in that direction.

All that said, just ask the original author for permission, not a big thing.

It could be the other way round. That is, Martijn wanting to post something as a diary post but not give away copyright / include content that is already under a specific licence.