Using OSM XML data to create illustrated maps


I have been reading a lot about the gray zones regarding the commercial use of OSM XML data.

But I am still not very sure about this:

Supposing, I own a mapping company that creates and sells illustrative maps in SVG, PDF, JPEG, BMP or similar form.
Am I allowed to use the OSM XML data to read out the geometries and features with my own software, but then use my own software to visualize and style that data my own way, place the “Map data Copyright…” line somewhere in it, and sell those maps, declaring that:

  • It is not allowed for the buyer to redistribute this map as it is, but
  • It is allowed for the buyer to extract or copy only the geodata behind it if possible (as it is with SVG) and redistribute it according to the OSM license. If such direct extraction is not possible, he can only portray the geodata into his own GIS from scratch (as it is the only option in case of BMP maps).

There are is a page that seems to tell me “yes”:

Here it says that “No. The process of creating a Produced Work does not need to be revealed beyond the Derivative Database, so any artistic interpretation involved does not have to be made available.”

So my illustrated SVG map created is an artistic interpretation of the OSM data, even if I only select particular datasets or layers for visualization, isn’t it? I mean, a “Derivative Databse” exists within my SVG in the form of point coordinates and place names etc. in the SVG nodes I created, but at the same time there’s my artistic interpretation in the form of my own visualization and styling. These two things exist inseperably in one product. And you are saying I must provide the derivative work, but don’t have to provide the artistic interpratation (my styling). But there’s no way of doing that, no way of providing just one of the two. If I am providing the SVG map with my artistic style under my personal copyright, I AM implicitly providing a “derivative database” under my personal copyright with it, am I not?
So what is it: I can forbid the buyer to redistribute my map - or: the artistic interpretation actually DOES have to be made available as an implicit consequence of the OSM license?

We are not talking about manipulating the contents of the data, it is merely subset selection, visual classification with potentially self-chosen class names, symbols, using the street names of the source data in my map with my own fonts, using the geometry data of the source data to draw the polygons of states with my own fill style and outline style etc.

But on the other hand, there’s this page that ignores such artistic interpretation:

by saying “In other words, if you use OSM data to create a road atlas, the whole road atlas will be freely photocopiable (under CC-SA)…”

Or are you just referring to copy-and-paste or download-and-integrate maps obtained from the OSM page here?

What can you tell me about this? I need to know whether it makes more sense commercially to buy commercial geodata for illustrative mapping, or whether OSM data is really an all-time-solution for geodata shortages in custom commercial cartography.