Why never use copyrighted maps as source. (clarified title)

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Why do people hate online maps?

Postby gettingthere » Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:57 am

dmcconachie wrote:They bought it from services that did go out and do that legwork!


Also there was some recent articles stating the Google has been doing the following to create their own data:

* hiring planes to fly over cities to take pictures to be used for 3D imagery
* using data from their street view cars to automatically adjust road geometry on their map as well as using logic to verify correct street names from images of the street signs

So they are actually spending money and creating this stuff. Waze should not get a free pass to use this data without permission (including the community mappers that are 'working' on behalf of Waze).

We want Waze to succeed. We don't want them to be tied up in lawsuits, reputation destroyed in the press, or worse - shut down due to improper actions by us, the community mappers.
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Re: Why do people hate online maps?

Postby flyinriz » Sat Jun 09, 2012 1:39 am

gettingthere wrote:We want Waze to succeed. We don't want them to be tied up in lawsuits, reputation destroyed in the press, or worse - shut down due to improper actions by us, the community mappers.

I totally agree and think that it should be taken very seriously.


gettingthere wrote:So they are actually spending money and creating this stuff. Waze should not get a free pass to use this data without permission.

I don't see the valid argument here. If something can be legally used (copied, etc.), whether by design or accidentally, I don't think it matters who spent the money (or did the leg work). Along the same line, it could be said that Wazers who only use the product and don't contribute in some form (alerts, edits, etc.) fall under this category. Obviously, that would defeat the purpose of this software and I don't actually think that it should be limited to contributors.

I'm not trying to pick a fight, just having a discussion.

On a semi-related note, would it be safe to assume that since we legally use Bing aerials for Waze that we could use use Bing maps for street verification or would this fall under two different usage types and licensed individually?
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Re: Why do people hate online maps?

Postby CBenson » Sat Jun 09, 2012 1:57 am

mapcat wrote:
dmcconachie wrote:It's not the use of street names etc that is illegal, it's the use of Google to create a derived work!

This.

Because how do you know that the street name you see on their map is correct? They do purposely give a small number of streets the wrong name, making it easy for them to discover anyone using their data.

You do research using multiple sources so that you are not copying any particular work.

Using street names you find on an online map to make a map is not creating a derivative work in the U.S. In the U.S., copyright infringement requires that you appropriate the copyright holder's creative work. The street names are not map maker's. Using them is not a derivative work of the mapmaker's work in the US. The US copyright law does not include a broad sweat of the brow doctrine. That is the effort and expense of gathering facts is not generally protected by copyright in the US. Thus, you can take the actual phone numbers from the phone book and publish them on your own and in the US it is not an infringement of the copyright of the author of the phone book. I believe that this also true in Israel.

gettingthere wrote:So they are actually spending money and creating this stuff. Waze should not get a free pass to use this data without permission (including the community mappers that are 'working' on behalf of Waze).

That simply does not make it a copyright infringement in the US. The map provider might argue misappropriation under state law. But such claims are likely preempted by Federal copyright law and usually only apply to time sensitive information.

gettingthere wrote:Likely none of us are attorneys. I suggest you have an attorney review their license agreements to see if you can use the street name data. If they say yes, post a copy of their written details here so we can all benefit from their interpretation.

I would respectfully suggest that you get the advice from the attorney before so definitively stating what is illegal.
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Re: Why do people hate online maps?

Postby mapcat » Sat Jun 09, 2012 2:30 am

CBenson wrote:
mapcat wrote:Because how do you know that the street name you see on their map is correct? They do purposely give a small number of streets the wrong name, making it easy for them to discover anyone using their data.

You do research using multiple sources so that you are not copying any particular work.

OK, then if you have access to other sources of street names, then why would you need Google's street names at all?!

Or were you implying that you could use multiple copyrighted sources and defend your actions if accused of stealing data by saying "I don't know if I copied your data or someone else's. I was using multiple sources, and only copied a few things from any one of them."

You seem to be missing the point. If you create a map of Annapolis that calls the road in front of your house Benson Blvd, and you copyright it, you are not copyrighting something that is anyone's work but your own. And if another company creates a map that shows Benson Blvd there without asking for and receiving permission from you, then they are in violation of copyright. And if they use that map to make a profit, you will have every right to sue them and expect some sort of compensation.

Edit: See what Cecil Adams has to say: Do maps have "copyright traps" to permit detection of unauthorized copies?
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Re: Why do people hate online maps?

Postby flyinriz » Sat Jun 09, 2012 2:37 am

mapcat wrote:If you create a map of Annapolis that calls the road in front of your house Benson Blvd, and you copyright it, you are not copyrighting something that is anyone's work but your own. And if another company creates a map that shows Benson Blvd there without asking for and receiving permission from you, then they are in violation of copyright. And if they use that map to make a profit, you will have every right to sue them and expect some sort of compensation.


But if you can trace (I know people don't) that road back to a public source (or non-copyrighted) no company along the way would have rights to claim copyright on it.

BUT it would be safer to use a known original work that has been licensed for commercial use (or is public domain).
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Re: Why do people hate online maps?

Postby floppyrod84 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 2:47 am

Agreed with the above. Copyright or not, it falls under a derivative work. If you could prove in court beyond reasonable doubt that you physically went out and surveyed the area to look at street signs etc, then you'd have a pretty strong defence, otherwise you'd be screwed.

Aside from this, editors will do what they will but just remember Waze have your username and GPS tracks guys, so if they end up being sued for copyright infringement or for creating derivative works, I'm sure they'll have no problem in sending the Court right to your door. Seriously, it's not worth playing with fire.
My personal advice would be; if you want to take the risk and possibly risk the map in your country being removed, or worse, being fined and/or imprisoned then go ahead.
Just remember not to drop the soap ;-)

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Re: Why do people hate online maps?

Postby flyinriz » Sat Jun 09, 2012 2:55 am

xteejx wrote:Copyright or not, it falls under a derivative work.


Which if it's not copyright is legal in the U.S.

xteejx wrote:Just remember not to drop the soap


HA!
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Re: Why do people hate online maps?

Postby mapcat » Sat Jun 09, 2012 2:57 am

aaronr8684 wrote:But if you can trace (I know people don't) that road back to a public source (or non-copyrighted) no company along the way would have rights to claim copyright on it.

Of course. So use the public source and forget the copyrighted one. They're not hard to find!

For the basemapped world, at least, there is no need to use Mapquest, Google, OSM, Bing, or any other sources for street names, landmark names, etc. For the non-basemapped world, there might be a need, but it's unlikely that those other sources would have any better information than Waze does.
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Re: Why do people hate online maps?

Postby CBenson » Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:47 am

mapcat wrote:OK, then if you have access to other sources of street names, then why would you need Google's street names at all?!

Or were you implying that you could use multiple copyrighted sources and defend your actions if accused of stealing data by saying "I don't know if I copied your data or someone else's. I was using multiple sources, and only copied a few things from any one of them."

Yes. That is what I'm saying, if you are using copyrighted sources to establish public domain facts, then publishing those facts is not copyright infringement in the US.


mapcat wrote:You seem to be missing the point. If you create a map of Annapolis that calls the road in front of your house Benson Blvd, and you copyright it, you are not copyrighting something that is anyone's work but your own. And if another company creates a map that shows Benson Blvd there without asking for and receiving permission from you, then they are in violation of copyright. And if they use that map to make a profit, you will have every right to sue them and expect some sort of compensation.

I do not believe that this is true. If I create a map of Annapolis and someone else copies it, I can sue them (regardless of whether the copy is used to make a profit). However, if they create their own map that looks entirely different (except for the underlying public domain facts) and includes Benson Blvd, that's not likely copyright infringement. Copyright infringement in the US requires that to be a copy the other map has to be substantially similar to mine. The mere inclusion of Benson Blvd on an otherwise different (except for underlying public domain facts) is unlikely to rise to the required level of substantial similarity.
mapcat wrote:Edit: See what Cecil Adams has to say: Do maps have "copyright traps" to permit detection of unauthorized copies?

Yes, Easter eggs exist in data compilations. Let's take the hypothetical example above where someone else copies my map with the fictional Benson Blvd. If they independently create a map that looks just like mine, it is not copyright infringement. So when I try to sue them, their first defense is likely to be "Oh I never saw your map before in my life, so I couldn't have copied it." If I can't show that they actually saw my map, I can't prove copyright infringement. That's where the Easter egg comes in. If my fictional Benson Blvd is on their map, it proves that they actually did have access to my particular map. This showing of access to my map through the inclusion of Benson Blvd plus substantial similarity should be enough to prove copyright infringement. The use of Benson Blvd without substantial similarity would not be enough to prove copyright infringement as there would be no copy of my map.

Note that the Adams posting simply notes the existence of "copyright traps" or what I've been calling Easter eggs. Nowhere does he say that the mere inclusion of an Easter egg in another work makes that work a copy. If fact he cites to no cases where "copyright traps" have successfully been used in a copyright case. If there was such a case, he would have simply cited to it to show how effective Easter eggs are and there would have been no need for the rest of the discussion about whether they exist or not. Also, note that all the major map makers vigorously deny that they include Easter eggs in their products. This is because their reputation for accuracy is more valuable than the very dubious protection that inclusion of Easter eggs in their product provides. Intentional errors are simply not very useful tools in copyright cases.

There is a difference between copying a map and using online maps as references to learn public domain street names and locations. Copying is a requirement for copyright infringement.

EDIT: I just noticed that the Adams posting is dated 1991. Easter eggs likely made more sense prior to 1991. The US Supreme Court decision in Feist v. Rural Telephone that established that the sweat of the brow doctrine doesn't apply in US copyright law was decided in 1991.
Last edited by CBenson on Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why do people hate online maps?

Postby gettingthere » Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:16 am

aaronr8684 wrote:On a semi-related note, would it be safe to assume that since we legally use Bing aerials for Waze that we could use use Bing maps for street verification or would this fall under two different usage types and licensed individually?


Seems that your question got lost in this great discussion!

Waze has not licensed anything other than the aerials from Bing Maps. And who knows exactly what there agreement is so I would stick with using the aerials integrated in Waze Map Editor vs. Bing Map directly. Maybe they are the same, maybe they are not.

As mapcat says, there are other sources for street names that very likely can be used without issue (be sure to read and understand the license agreement). Most government bodies have some type of online map source that the public can access. Some governments also generate their own aerials via airplanes flying over their area taking pictures.

For example, check out Clark County Nevada's GIS site (includes Las Vegas). Right on the intro screen it states that the date is in the public domain. Fantastic detail.

Public domain basically means that you can do whatever you want with the data for commercial or non-commercial use.

http://gisgate.co.clark.nv.us/openweb/
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