OSM Trademark Violations and Lack of Enforcement, General and Specific Examples

You’re certainly entitled to that opinion, but we can’t really control the point from which OSM mappers will start trying to understand this policy, or even become aware that there is a policy. Here has been my path of understanding:

  1. Awareness that in addition to OpenStreetMap, there are a bunch of related projects using a remix of the main project’s name (OpenCycleMap, OpenCampingMap, OpenStreetBrowser, etc). Cool!
  2. Awareness that these projects are run by community members, not the OSMF, but they seem to be widely accepted as extensions of the overall OpenStreetMap ecosystem. I guess this is allowed and encouraged!
  3. Awareness of the trademark policy when someone announces a new project named in this way and is met with admonishment. Wait, what? I guess it’s not allowed… sort of?
  4. Confusion because a whole bunch of other existing projects are celebrated in the community and don’t receive such admonishment. This seems like inconsistent enforcement and/or favoritism…
  5. Awareness of the trademark policy FAQ that offers some explanation for this.

I believe I understand the actual policy now, but only because of your further explanations beyond the OSMF documents. It seems to me that the visibility of these remixed project names in the community is higher than the trademark policy and so this conflict will continue to occur. Their continued existence gives the appearance that such names are generally allowed. I believe this is unhealthy for the community as it sets up a false expectation and potential conflict with the OSMF for anyone looking to name a new OSM related project. One idea to help change this perception might be to require projects using a remixed name to include a trademark notice. Something like “The OpenThingMap name is a licensed remix of OpenStreetMap™”, with a link to an OSMF page explaining how old projects have been granted this license but it is no longer allowed for new projects.

Edit: I see OpenRailwayMap does have a trademark notice here. That’s helpful, but it still gives the impression that a new project could be granted this same license. A page clearly explaining that this license offer is no longer available would help set expectations.