[talk-au] Sourcing street names form existing maps

Ian Sergeant isergean at hih.com.au
Sun Nov 25 22:26:44 GMT 2007

"Matt White" <mattwhite at iinet.com.au> wrote on 24/11/2007 04:16:29 PM:

> There's really only been one legal case testing this is Australia that I
> could track down - DtMS V Telstra - which was over the fact that DtMS
> the Telstra phone book in it's entirety (headings, details, the whole
> shooting match), then made it available as a separate product. DtMS lost
> that case, but the reasons appeared to be that they copied the entire
> from a single source. So checking multiple sources (two different street
> directories) might change the equation somewhat

Copying a large portion of a street directory list of street names is very
similar to the facts in Desktop Marketing.

The case didn't turn on a single source, but rather a substantial part.

> Either way, I've got additional feelers out with an IP/Copyright lawyer,
> Oz Copyright Council and a couple of other places to attempt to resolve
> question properly.

This is the problem.  You cannot resolve the question properly with the
current state of the law in Australia.  This is an issue on the edges of
Australian copyright law.

>From the precedent set in Desktop Marketing, it is likely that the list of
streets in a street directory is a literary work under the copyright act,
in much the same way as a telephone directory list of names.   The test of
originality in a literary work is a very low bar indeed, and the act of
compiling the list and keeping it updated would certainly be sufficient.

In EU countries, the statutory concept of a "database right" has been
introduced, to remove any lack on clarity in this area.

Have a read of the case, if you haven't already..


The question then becomes is OSM interested in defending a case in
Australia against copying a street directory names?  Perhaps they could ask
Desktop Marketing (who can now be reached care of their liquidator,
Geoffrey Handberg).

Approaching lawyers and the copyright council is the wrong approach, IMO.
Approach Universal Publishers, or the Department of Lands, and ask them if
the will give permission to copy their list of street names.  If they are
cool with it, then go for it.  If they are going to sue OSM for breach of
copyright, then whoever is interested in testing this legal principle
should set up their own OSM fork for the purpose.


More information about the Talk-au mailing list