They are, and can be found in that form on most street corners.
You can ask your local council for their official list of street names, and permission to use that for this purpose, if it isn’t already PD. Perhaps they’re even inclined to release more information to you, which is always a good thing.
I’ve only just started working on OSM so I’m glad that I sorted this out early. Got on the bike this morning and I’ve made the start to gather the information the “old fashioned way”. I also made sure that no other such names/refs are used in other data that I added.
Is it the case that once the copyrighted data has been deleted then that’s the end of it?
Finally, although I glanced through the tutorial early on, I really was so keen to get started that I didn’t follow the link down into the easter egg page (from http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Copyright)). It’s actually that page which gives a much clearer set of guidelines regarding copyright and I think that this information should be brought up to the higher level.
I have been putting name tags on a lot of parks and squares in Buenos Aires based on the official names that can be found on the website http://mapa2.buenosaires.gov.ar/ of the city government of Buenos Aires.
I guess that if there are ordenanzas and decretos that are available in the public domain that give you the coordinates of a park/square and its name, then that may be fine, but I’m no expert. Make sure you add a source: tag to explain where the name came from.
Interesting document. It gives you the name of a street and the law that gave it that name, but it doesn’t tell you where the street is. So you can’t use it without referring to a separate map, which may be under copyright. Perhaps the original decretos/ordenanzas give you the location?
Yes, street names are always in public domaine (PD) but…
Many governements around the world publish documents with restricted access/usage. They don’t want that the work and money spent to collect the information is directly reused by e.g. commercial organisations for profit.
Maybe I’ll write them in these days and ask them whether we can use http://mapa2.buenosaires.gov.ar/ as a reference for the naming of the streets and squares in Buenos Aires (for not-for-profit and commercial reuse)
If they agree I could even ask for the use of this map for tracing later on.
I think that’s the best approach. Though the details in the law are enough for you to be able to name any street, as long as you have a known starting point (that you could verify by sight, if needs be).