OpenStreetMap

Copyrighting Location Based Facts?

Posted by MapMakinMeyers on 11 September 2013 in English (English)

Recently I read someone's copyright restrictions on their data. They said you 'cannot copyright a fact or a location' So it really threw me, because I am such a spaz about copyright, and not plagiarizing, or copyright infringement.

Can you copyright a latitude and longitude with a place name!?

Comment from Richard on 11 September 2013 at 13:06

In many countries, rights can exist in a collection or selection of facts/locations. In addition, many websites (such as Google Maps) have Terms of Service that forbid you from copying information, even if copyright would permit it.

OSM's attitude is, and always has been, to play safe by not copying. We do not put our entire project's viability at risk by testing out legal theories.

For more details, see about 987,000 posts on the legal-talk mailing list in the past 9 years, a bunch of wiki pages, and so on and so forth. :)

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Comment from MapMakinMeyers on 11 September 2013 at 13:10

I would never do anything that is questionable with regard to the OSM project. I was just throwing it out there to see what people think/ say.

I started to think this morning; I go and take a gps reading at the center of my downtown. It is literally 5 feet from a lat/ long that is copyrighted by a commercial map provider. they have the same name as well. Can I publish this location and name, or does someone own it!?!??

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Comment from Richard on 11 September 2013 at 16:40

No, no-one owns it. "Copyright" is the right to copy. If you have independently come up with the same fact, you haven't copied it from (say) Google. But that doesn't mean that you could just copy the fact from Google without coming up with it yourself.

All of this is very jurisdiction-specific but you may want to look at the 'Case law' and 'Statute law' pages on the wiki.

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