[OSM-talk] postcode idea

Simon Hewison simon at zymurgy.org
Thu Mar 30 13:35:06 BST 2006

Nick Hill wrote:
> We then have the point of law Copyright: Does a singular address 
> provided to someone constitute a copyrightable work? If so, when I have 
> that address, who owns the copyright?

Well, in a discussion with the Royal Mail about licensing the PAF data, 
the following issues came up:

If you have an 'export' license for Royal Mail Address Manager, that 
data can be exported to a licensed number of machines or users, 
depending on how much you pay.

If you export the data from their own weird encrypted format to one PC, 
and then use that data for address completion or address cleaning, 
against your own database, then Royal Mail don't own the copyright on 
your collected address data.

If, however, you're making the dataset available for reference to 
machines or users outside your licensed terms, then that would be a 
violation of the license arrangement, so sticking up a web interface 
that allows unlimited random searches, and returning nothing more than 
the data from the dataset is a no-no.

Technically, there's nothing the Royal Mail can do to stop someone with 
licensed access to the data using that data to do something like write 
the postcode on the kerbstones in the streets in chalk, though the local 
council may treat that as graffiti. Anyone wandering down that street is 
free to read that information and use it as they see fit.

There's a difference between data and information. Royal Mail have 
database copyright on the data, not the information that I happen to 
have visited 322 Regents Park Road, LONDON N3 2QQ, which is not a 
residential address, with lat/long 51.60009 -0.19473. I can also freely 
state that the Royal Mail Address Management Centre is based in Slindon 
Street, PORTSMOUTH, and has a postcode of PO1 1AF, because I happen to 
know that fact without reference to the licensed dataset.

Simon Hewison

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