I'm not quite sure if there is a real issue. If you derive the
boundaries you use from OSM, yes it is unlikely that it is
non-substantial if you are using them for a whole country and the result
is likely subject to share alike.

However that only requires you to make the your modified data available
on ODbL terms,it does not require that you have to use whatever changes
somebody else makes to that dataset. Any third party sources you use for
improving the boundaries would however have to be compatible with the
ODbL 1.0.

So it is quite possible for you to retain a "master copy" of whatever
you think the language boundaries are. Naturally if you have
improvements to the admin boundaries and your source is ODbL compatible
(which it should be, see above) it might make sense to include such
improvements directly into OSM.

As has been already been suggested the alternative is to not use OSM
boundaries at all and a third party source (which I doubt exists as open
data globally).


Am 20.01.2017 um 12:05 schrieb Marcus Love:
> Hi Christoph,
>   Thanks for the response. I reviewed the substantial guidelines, and I feel 
> that it would be substantial as if I used it for one admin line, I'd want to 
> use it for the entire country. 
>    And as you say below, that if I use my own source of admin boundaries to 
> form language polygons overlaid on the OSM boundaries, they will have 
> mismatches. I compared what we currently have with Angola, and there are many 
> places where our boundaries and OSM boundaries already coincide, but there 
> are quite a few places where they differ. I'll keep looking into how I might 
> be able to turn off/only download background without OSM admin boundaries to 
> see if it is possible.
> Thanks,
> Marcus 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Christoph Hormann [] 
> Sent: Friday, January 20, 2017 10:13 AM
> To: Licensing and other legal discussions.
> Subject: Re: [OSM-legal-talk] Series of maps for Angola
> On Friday 20 January 2017, Marcus Love wrote:
>> I was
>> thinking, that if I use OSM as a background, that I could edit the 
>> language polygons that we have to follow along OSM admin boundaries 
>> where they coincide. However, if I do that, would it then make those 
>> polygons that I've edited a 'derivative database'?
> Probably yes, this depends on the extent to which you make use of OSM data in 
> your proprietary data set.  See also:
> If you'd just adjust your polygons at a handful of places to fix major 
> mismatches that would normally be considered insubstantial.
>>   If that isn't possible to adapt our language polygons to OSM admin 
>> boundaries without it becoming a derivative database, then we would 
>> use another source for the admin boundaries. Is it possible to use an 
>> OSM background and turn off/toggle the admin boundaries for the 
>> basemap? Otherwise, we will have language boundaries which will be 
>> slightly off the OSM admin boundaries, and wouldn't look that great 
>> and might be confusing on the map.
> If you render an OSM based map without OSM based admin boundaries and add 
> admin boundaries from a different source you have no derivative database, see:
> Note however in such a map you would then simply have other mismatches, i.e. 
> between the admin boundaries and OSM based basemap features instead of 
> between the admin boundaries and your special thematic layer.
> --
> Christoph Hormann
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