[Talk-us] Tiger Street Names and Copyright

Ian Dees ian.dees at gmail.com
Sun Feb 1 21:36:44 GMT 2009

On Sun, Feb 1, 2009 at 3:25 PM, <richard at weait.com> wrote:

> Hilton Long said:
> > Tiger line files are incomplete, especially as regards streets in new
> > developments.  It's possible to draw the streets from Yahoo imagery.  But
> > where to get the names?  Must they come off of street signs?  Is it a
> > violation of copyright to take the names (and ONLY the names) from
> Google,
> > Yahoo, or Microsoft Maps?
> It is absolutely a violation of copyright to take street names from
> copyright maps.

That's incorrect. As discussed previously on one of the other OSM e-mail
lists [1], the US Supreme Court ruled long ago [2] that facts are not
copyrightable. Street names are not copyrightable because they are facts.
Google Maps and similar do not add any creative spark specifically to street
names so the street names are not copyrightable. On the other hand, the
street centerline data is copyrightable because Google is adding a spark of
creativity to the factual data.

[1] http://www.mail-archive.com/newbies@openstreetmap.org/msg00502.html
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