[OSM-legal-talk] Re: [OSM-talk] IoW: New Popular Edition orthorectified

Laurence Penney lorp at lorp.org
Fri May 5 06:52:27 BST 2006

Richard Fairhurst wrote:
> [suggest follow-ups go only to legal-talk]
> Quoting Lester Caine <lester at lsces.co.uk>:
>> Not been able to clarify the 1947 Johnson's Readyfold map - that may
>> not actually be 'legal' but I've had no replies to any requests about
>> it!
> This is something that interests me.
> Let's say we have a non-OS map, like the Johnson one, from 1947. Clearly 
> the map is still in copyright because it's (at best) 70 years since the 
> end of 1947, (at worst) 70 years since the death of the author.
> But many such maps were made using OS data, which is out of copyright 
> after just 50 years.
> Is it legal to trace tracks from such a map? After all, even if the map 
> isn't out of copyright, the underlying data is.

Isn't the issue rather like Bridegman v Corel? The point there was that 
absolutely no enhancements (other than purely "technical" ones) had been 
made to the images by Bridgeman, therefore no new copyright status 
applied. In the case of these maps, they have typically had numerous 
aesthetic changes from the underlying OS data.

You're still not necessarily clean once you've distilled the road 
layouts from the map. Various possibilities include: map distorted to 
fit a page, streets added or deleted to catch copyists, map edited to be 
more accurate, manual generalization. More likely for this kind of map 
are notable buildings being added, in the case of tourist maps of cities 
for example. Although some of these things are unlikely, I don't think 
we can ever give carte blanche to such activity. As far as how dangerous 
it is, it's probably on the same level as photocopying studio-shot 
family photos from the 1930s.

-- Laurence (IANAL)

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