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

John F. Eldredge john at jfeldredge.com
Tue Apr 7 02:50:59 UTC 2015

Note that there is a long tradition of encyclopedias, maps, and other copyrighted sources deliberately including some bogus "facts" as a way of detecting plagiarism. These bogus facts don't exist in real life, only in the copyrighted document, so having them show up in a competing document proves that copying took place.

On April 2, 2015 5:12:57 PM CDT, Simon Poole <simon at poole.ch> wrote:
> Am 02.04.2015 um 05:20 schrieb Russ Nelson:
> > ...
> > 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. 
> Very true.
> > Maps with insufficient creative content to be
> > copyrightable.
> They may exist, but are you seriously saying that we (as in individual
> mappers and the OSM community as a whole) should make that
> determination?
> >
> > 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.
> >
> While is true that you can't own a fact in isolation, the problem is
> they are rarely presented in that form.
> Up to now OSM has drawn the line in such a way that stuff that is
> signposted and is observable on the ground is fair game (with some
> exceptions, I believe the GR issue is still unsolved). If you are
> using
> a collection of facts, be it a list, a map, a file on a computer or
> whatever, we have to now always taken the, fairly high ground,
> position
> that you either need explicit permission (by agreement, licence or
> similar) or that the use of the source is clearly not subject to
> copyright any longer. Forgetting about other rights, regulations etc
> that may exist for the purpose of this discussion.
> What you seem to be saying in your above statement, followed by
> stevea's
> battle call to actually do so,  that wholesale extraction of facts
> from
> any source is unproblematic and is something that can be done without
> further consideration and the net result can be used in OSM globally
> with no expectation of problems. BTW you live in the country of
> software
> patents which -is- essentially patenting math.
> Alas I suspect you are kidding yourself in a big way.
> Simon
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John F. Eldredge -- john at jfeldredge.com
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
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