[odc-discuss] Copyright status of OSM map data

Ed Avis eda at waniasset.com
Thu Jan 26 16:13:36 UTC 2012

I asked Cathy Gellis to comment and she wrote:

>The criticism of the City of New York case is fair.  It does seem like a
>somewhat inconsistent result, and many copyright scholars have criticized it.
>(It is, however, one of the few electronic mapping cases, and in that respect is
>probably sound in showing that digitization doesn't preclude copyright.)
>But the other criticism seems to misunderstand the earlier precedent, being
>focused on what is being labeled rather than THAT it is being labeled.  That's
>where the discretion is.

I asked her to clarify by asking whether she is referring to the idea-expression
merger doctrine:

>>OSM map data is not the set of all possible geographic facts about an 
>>area. There is some selection and arrangement in choosing which facts 
>>to map - is that what you mean?
>Basically, yes.

(I believe others have made this point in the past.)

Ed Avis <eda at waniasset.com>

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