How not to credit OpenStreetMap

I recently received my copy of The London Cycling Guide by Tom Bogdanowicz, which I bought both because I was interested in the routes it shows and because it uses OpenStreetMap maps throughout. As an example, here’s a part of one of the maps, showing the Isle of Dogs:

The Isle of Dogs from The London Cycling Guide

The Isle of Dogs from The London Cycling Guide

By way of comparison, here’s how the same area looks in OpenStreetMap at the moment:

The Isle of Dogs from OpenStreetMap

The Isle of Dogs from OpenStreetMap

Obviously the maps in the book have had extra information added, and some things like stations changed a little, but the base map is clearly both OpenStreetMap data and OpenStreetMap cartography.

Naturally enough the first thing I did was to turn to the acknowledgements to see what nice things they would have to say about the project, and indeed we do get a mention, though more in passing than anything. What it says is:

All other maps by Steve Dew using base maps by Openstreetmap

More alarming however was what I found at the front of the book, among all the other copyright statements, where it has the following line:

Copyright © 2010 in maps New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd

Whilst it is probably true that there is some copyright (in the additional work done on top of the base map) which vests with them, there is also clearly a substantial amount of work whose copyright lies with members of the OpenStreetMap project.

As far as I can tell nowhere does it indicate that the maps carry a CC-BY-SA license, which they must do, by virtue of being derived from OpenStreetMap maps which carry that license.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that people are using our work (and my own work even – some of the area shown above was surveyed by me) in this way – that’s the whole point after all. I just wish they would spend five minutes to properly credit us and to point people at the license, both of which the license actually requires them to do.

For the record, the first map in this post is © OpenStreetMap and contributors and New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd and the second is © OpenStreetMap and contributors. Both are licensed under CC-BY-SA.


  1. Hi Tom,

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

    We apologise for omitting to credit correctly Open Street Map in our book “The Cycling London Guide” by Tom Bogdanowicz. We outsourced the mapping for this title and unfortunately we were not properly informed of the correct copyright. However we take full responsibility for this and will ensure it doesn’t happen on any other books Open Street Map is used in. We have placed a link to Open Street Map on the product details page on our website along with a full copyright acknowledgement.

    New Holland Publishers

  2. Pingback: Well Done New Holland Pubishers « Tom's Thoughts

  3. Wait – OpenStreetMap is licensed CC-BY-SA. That’s Share-Alike. And these guys have ripped off the map and published it in a proprietary book?

    Where did they post the source code of that book?

    Share-Alike is basically the GNU General Public License for non-software. You can’t just grab up a piece of Share-Alike work and dump it into a proprietary work with a nice copyright notice and be done! (The same way you can’t copy a proprietary map into your proprietary book — you need the permission of the copyright holder.) To get permission for a CC-BY-SA work, you have to share the resulting ENTIRE work, i.e. the whole book! I guess they didn’t bother to read the license, even after it was pointed out to them.

    Well Done, New Holland Publishers…NOT!

    • CC-BY-SA distinguishes between derived and collected works. Like a CD-ROM which has some GPL software packages on it and some proprietary packages, a book may contain CC-BY-SA licensed content as well as not-CC-BY-SA-licensed content unless the *whole book* is derived from OSM which this clearly isn’t. This message is copyright by me even though further up on the page there’s a CC-BY-SA licensed work. Wikipedia articles are CC-BY-SA licensed but occasionally contain proprietary imagery. This is all legal and covered by CC-BY-SA. Do I need to go on?

  4. I’m an editor at a book publishers and need to use some UK mapping which could make up approx a quarter of the book. I read your blog with interest and have searched around the OSM website. I’m no legal expert so just want to clarify that I can print map data from OSM so long as I give the full credit details as listed above. Also that I’ll have no comeback from Ordnance Survey etc. I’d be extremely grateful if you could contact me regarding this. Many thanks, Louise

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