[OSM-talk] Breach of Copyright?

Russ Nelson nelson at crynwr.com
Thu Oct 1 01:14:35 BST 2009

Dave F. writes:
 > I look for /indications /of rights of way on my OS map. Initially this 
 > is the only evidence I have.
 > If I see it's not indicated in OSM I go & walk it.
 > I'm pretty certain I'm not the only one who does this.
 > Is this a breach of copyright?

Not in the US.  Not in any way, not at all.  Copyright in the US
protects creative expression, not information.  If something is a
representation of a fact, the creative elements of that representation
are copyrightable.  The fact is not copyrightable.  You are using the
OSM maps in a manner which is non-infringing under US law.

Further, under US law, if there is only one way to express something,
you cannot claim a copyright on it, even if you can show that you
exercised creativity in creating it.

Now, you *can* claim a copyright on a collection of facts, but the
copyright applies to the collection, not the individual facts.  Your
creativity was applied to the choice of which facts to include in the

Obviously you are in the UK making reference to a work under UK
copyright, so none of this applies to you.  I merely put this here so
that people in the US understand that they CAN do what you are doing.

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