[OSM-legal-talk] street names on reprints of old maps

Dan Karran dan at karran.net
Sun Nov 18 11:16:38 GMT 2007


On Nov 17, 2007 7:44 PM, Geoff Richards <qef at ungwe.org> wrote:
> Hi,
> Perhaps someone here can help me with a little legal question, or point
> me to any previous discussion of it.
> Some of the streets I've added to OSM in my area don't have signs with
> their names on (these are small streets, not used much anymore).  I've
> just received an interesting old map from someone on Ebay.  It's a
> reprint of an OS map, originally published in 1906 or 1908.  Obviously I
> could do what I wanted if I had an original print.
> My copy is a "Godfrey Edition" from http://www.alangodfreymaps.co.uk/
> published sometime in the last 25 years.  The map itself is an
> unmodified reprint except for a bit in the corner crediting the people
> who reprinted it.
> I don't really want to copy from this thing wholesale, it's too old, but
> I'd like to use it as a reference to find out what the names of a few
> streets are.  Can I do that under UK copyright law?  I can't see how the
> name of a street can be copyrighted, and the actual surveying of where
> they go is my own work.  It seems a bit silly to have to go and find a
> genuine original copy just so that I can say I saw the name of a street
> there rather than on a modern print.
> Anyway, I'd be grateful for any advice.

I actually wondered the same thing last year and got in touch with
Alan Godfrey, the guy behind these great map reprints, and he told me
that he was happy for me to use names from the maps, but obviously not
to copy the maps wholesale.

"I am not totally sure what you need here. I have no objection to you using
the street names but would not be able to allow the actual copying of the
map as such."

As Etienne says though, be careful, as names could quite well have
changed over the years.


Dan Karran
dan at karran.net

More information about the legal-talk mailing list