[Talk-us] USA Rail: Calling all OSM railfans! (especially in California)

Russ Nelson nelson at crynwr.com
Thu Apr 2 03:20:03 UTC 2015

Paul Norman writes:
 > Without some kind of license giving permission, you cannot use other 
 > maps with OSM.

April Fools! Yes, you can. There are many kinds of public domain maps
whose republication needs no license. For example, in the US all maps
published before the magic date, whatever year it is we're up to
now. Maps copyrighted but not renewed. Maps published without a
copyright before 1988. Maps with insufficient creative content to be

There are maps which are canonical sources of facts about the world,
such as a BNSF map naming subdivisions. No one can own a fact about
the world, because it's a fact. Just like you can't patent math. Same
idea. You can copyright a collection of facts. You can copyright the
arrangement of facts. You can copy the presentation of facts. But you
can't copyright the individual facts.

--my blog is at    http://blog.russnelson.com
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