License and Copyright

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MapStory is open data. In committing your StoryLayers and MapStories to, you are assigning your data and graphical representations to the global data commons under two licenses, respectively. The Open Database License(ODbL) from Open Data Commons (ODC), is used for the underlying data sets committed to MapStory. The Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 licence (CC BY-SA) is used for graphical representations of this data. This can include out of copyright information, public domain or other licenses. All contributors must register with the project and agree to provide data and graphical representations on an Open Data License (ODbL) and a Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0 license, respectively. Or, user must determine that the licensing of the source data is suitable; this may involve examining licenses for government data to establish whether they are compatible.

You are free to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt our maps and data, as long as you credit MapStory and its contributors. If you alter or build upon our maps or data, you may distribute the result only under the same license. The full Creative Commons legal code and Open Database License explains your rights and responsibilities.

How to credit MapStory[edit]

If you are using MapStory map images, we request that your credit reads “© MapStory contributors, CC BY-SA”. If you are using map data only, we request “Data © MapStory contributors, ODbL”.

Where possible, MapStories should be hyperlinked to and cite the CC BY-SA license. If you are using a medium where links are not possible (e.g. a printed work), we suggest you direct your readers to [], run by the 'The MapStory Foundation’, and cite the CC BY-SA license.

Our CC BY-SA license requires you to “give the Original Author credit reasonable to the medium or means you are utilizing”. Individual MapStory contributors do not request a credit over and above that to “MapStory contributors”, but as MapStory is a high-attribution environment, it may be reasonable to credit them by directly reproducing their credit or by linking to it on this page. We encourage you to also link to specific StoryLayer or MapStory pages, so that individual MapStorytellers get direct credit, rather than just being an nameless 'MapStory contributor'.

Inclusion of data in MapStory does not imply that the original data provider endorses MapStory, provides any warranty, or accepts any liability.

API Usage[edit]

Although MapStory is open data, we cannot provide unlimited free-of-charge map APIs for third-party developers. As the MapStory Foundation is a charitable organization supported by a global community, the resources available from this community will govern the volume of API calls that can be handled. As such, the use of any API published by MapStory will be subject filtering, particular for users posing disproportionate load on the servers. See our API Usage Policy - which is a work in progress.

DMCA Compliance[edit]

The Foundation abides by the federal Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by responding to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the DMCA and other applicable laws. As part of our response, the Foundation will act expeditiously to remove or disable access to material on this web site that is claimed to be infringing.

The Foundation does not control content hosted on third party websites, and cannot remove content from sites it does not own or control. If you are the copyright owner of content hosted on a third party site, and you have not authorized the use of your content, please contact the administrator of that website directly to have the content removed.

Before serving either a Notice of Infringing Material or Counter-Notification, you may wish to contact a lawyer to better understand your rights and obligations under the DMCA and other applicable laws. The following notice requirements are intended to comply with the Foundation’s rights and obligations under the DMCA and, in particular, sections 512(c) and (d), and do not constitute legal advice. Please consult your legal counsel to confirm these requirements.

Notice of Infringing Material

To file a notice of infringing material on a site owned or controlled by the Foundation, please provide a written notification containing the following details:

1. Reasonably sufficient detail to enable us to identify the work claimed to be infringed or, if multiple works are claimed to be infringed, a representative list of such works (for example: title, author, any registration or tracking number, URL);

2. Reasonably sufficient detail to enable us to identify and locate the material that is claimed to be infringing (preferably a link to the page that contains the material, providing URLs in the body of an email is the best way to help MapStory locate content quickly);

3. Your contact information so that the Foundation can contact you (for example, your address, telephone number, email address);

4. A statement that you have a good faith belief that the use of the material identified in (2) is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law;

5. A statement that the information in the notification is accurate and, under penalty of perjury, that you are authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the exclusive right that is alleged to be infringed.

6. Your physical or electronic signature.

Then send this notice to:

Please note that under Section 512(f) any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity is infringing may be subject to liability for damages. Do not make false claims!


If material that you have posted to a site sustained by the Foundation has been taken down, you may file a counter-notification that contains the following details:

1. Identification of the material that has been removed or to which access has been disabled and the location at which the material appeared before it was removed or disabled;

2. A statement, under penalty of perjury, that you have a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of mistake or misidentification of the material in question;

3. Your name, address and telephone number;

4. A statement that you consent to the jurisdiction of the Federal District Court for judicial district in which your address is located or, if your address is outside of the USA, for any judicial district in which the Foundation may be found and that you will accept service of process from the person who submitted a notice in compliance with the section (c)(1)(C) of the DMCA, as generally described above;

5. Your physical or electronic signature.

Then send this notice to:

Please note that under Section 512(f) of the Copyright Act, any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification may be subject to liability. Please also be advised that the Foundation enforces a policy that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscribers who are repeat infringers.

Finding out more[edit]

Read more about using our data at the Legal FAQ, which is a work in progress.

MapStory contributors are reminded never to add data from any copyrighted sources (e.g. Google Maps or printed maps) without explicit permission from the copyright holders.