[OSM-legal-talk] [OSM-talk] Illegal activity

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemeD.net
Mon Nov 2 11:51:45 GMT 2009

Pieren wrote:
> It's not the question about laws in France, Germany or US vs England.
> It's the question to know if OSM database can survive if it contains
> data from illegal sources, independently of the country.
> Richard is convinced that the content of the photos is not protected
> and I agree on that point. But he just decides to ignore all the
> investments spent to rectify and georeference these photos on which
> his derivative work is based. And this investment and work is
> protected.

Heh. I haven't decided to ignore it. I'm just not 100% convinced as yet 
that it alters the clear lead set out by Bauman v Fussell.

US law is unambiguous: the doctrine of idea-expression merger means that 
rectification doesn't make any difference. UK law is not clear, and you 
have to interpret sweat-of-the-brow in the light of Bauman v Fussell and 
Antiquesportfolio v Fitch. Canada is very interesting: Weetman v Baldwin 
(heard in a fairly junior court) cites "accuracy not previously attained 
by other mapmakers of the region in question... facilitated by a 
particular process pioneered by a mapmaker" which can be interpreted in 
wild and exciting ways.

I'm not particularly au fait with national copyright law in mainland 
Europe. Doubtless you can answer on France: I can't see anything in 
German law that would give protection. It's been suggested that EU 
database right could also give some protection to rectification. I can't 
yet see it myself (particularly in light of BHB vs William Hill), but 
then, database right is really the modern day equivalent of the 
Schleswig-Holstein Question:

"Only three people," said Palmerston, "have ever really understood the 
Schleswig-Holstein business: the Prince Consort, who is dead; a German 
professor, who has gone mad; and I, who have forgotten all about it."

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