[Talk-us] USPS Address Database

Anthony osm at inbox.org
Wed Mar 2 22:00:58 GMT 2011

On Wed, Mar 2, 2011 at 4:11 PM, Steven Johnson <sejohnson8 at gmail.com> wrote:
> To my knowledge the DSF is not available as a public domain data
> set; back in the '90's, the US Census Bureau had to get Congressional
> permission to use it for creating the Master Address File (MAF).

The USPS claims copyright on pretty much all of its databases.

Whether or not that copyright is valid is another story, and also not
all that relevant unless someone wants to spend thousands of dollars
buying a copy of the database, giving it away for free, and waiting to
see if the USPS sues them. (*)

An alternative might be to try making a FOIA request to the US Census
Bureau for its list of all valid addresses (not geolocated).  They
have so far successfully claimed that the *geocoded* list of addresses
is exempt for privacy reasons, but I don't think anyone has made a
request for the *non-geocoded* list.

(*) Incidentally, if you'd like to buy a copy of the database and give
it to me, I'd be willing to be the guinea pig who redistributes it, or
at least those portions of it which I don't think are copyrightable.
I'm confident enough to stick my neck out that any claimed copyright
on a trivially ordered list of all addresses in the United States is
not valid.  But please don't break any contracts in doing so.

Here's the list of vendors:

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