[Tagging] How to map terrace buildings with names

Matthew Woehlke mwoehlke.floss at gmail.com
Wed Jul 8 14:09:57 UTC 2020

On 08/07/2020 09.57, Matthew Woehlke wrote:
> On 07/07/2020 18.04, Paul Allen wrote:
>> Copyright prevents us using Google Streetview for mapping, but we 
>> can use it for illustrative purposes.
> Honestly, I would *strongly* question whether that is enforceable in the 
> US (maybe it is in some overprotective European nations?). When I take a 
> picture of something, the *expression* of the scene I capture is subject 
> to copyright, but the *subject matter* is not. (Well, not subject to 
> *my* copyright, anyway; something like a sculpture or building can be 
> copyrighted by the creator thereof.) Neither Google nor anyone else can 
> copyright facts by recording them in a photograph.

Sorry, but I feel like I need to clarify this further.

Are the *actual photographs* in Google Street View copyrighted? Yes; in 
theory there was a "creative choice" about where and when to take the 
photographs. If OSM were to reproduce said photographs, or excerpts 
thereof, that would be a problem.

Is the *content* of the photographs copyrighted? No, or at least, not by 
Google, except to the extent that content is a result of Google's 
actions. If the photo has not been materially altered (stuff like 
blurring faces and license plates doesn't matter for our purposes, 
because we wouldn't be "copying" that sort of thing in any way), then 
the *contents* of that photo are exactly as free of copyright claims as 
if someone else had taken a photo at the same time and location and 
declared it public domain.

Whether or not the *contents* are subject to copyright (most likely 
*not* Google's, unless we're talking about e.g. the Google campus) is a 
whole other kettle of fish, that potentially affects *anyone* going to 
the site and recording information.

Disclaimer: this is all US law. If you live in another country, YMMV.


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