Overpass API's license - AGPL v3


This is more of a licensing question than Overpass-api question.

I am a developer in a startup that is trying to access map details data. Our mobile app will allow users to find features near their current location.
In order to not put any load in public OSM servers, I was thinking of setting up a private Overpass-api server.

In overview, my environment looks like below.

#1. Mobile app
#2. Backend HTTP Server
#3. My Overpass-api Server (containerized)

End users mainly use #1, which makes HTTP calls to #2. Then #2 makes calls to #3 and returns the result back to #1 showing features data to users.

However, while reading the wiki document https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Overpass_API#Developers_.2F_System_Administrators, I found out that Overpass-api is licensed under Affero GPL v3.

Our Overpass-api server will be running with an unmodified Overpass-api source code. The Overpass-api will be packaged as a docker image and deployed as a docker container.

My question is

  • Would above setup make our applications (#1, #2, and #3’s docker containerization logic) source code to be available to the public? (per AGPL v3’s guideline) :open_mouth:

IANAL, but my understanding is that even AGPL software does not generally “infect” software connecting to it through HTTP and similar protocols. So I’d assume that your mobile app (#1) is clearly not affected, and unless you mean method calls or a similarly close integration when you say “#2 makes calls to #3”, neither is your own backend service (#2).

I’d say that the only difference AGPL makes for your use case compared to classic GPL is that you would have to share the source to any modifications you make to the source code of your Overpass instance (#3). But as long as you run an unmodified instance, AGPL does not require that extra step. I’m unclear if docker containerization logic is considered a modification, but my intuition would be that it would not.

You could always ask Roland directly what he intends the license to mean, though!