Reconciliation between CC and ODC
Posted Jan 20, 2011 18:46 UTC (Thu) by epa
In reply to: Reconciliation between CC and ODC
Parent article: OpenStreetMap's point of no return
I think that the reason why maps are copyrightable is not because they 'at least have the potential to employ an original form of representation', but for the simpler reason that the statute declares them to be copyrightable. Whether or not they are just pure facts, whether or not they have any originality or creative input, the copyright law says that it applies to maps, therefore it applies to maps.
Further, the copyrightability of maps is not based on surface details like the rendering, but on the information they contain. You cannot get round copyright on maps by making a copy that uses different colours or highlighting. Otherwise, copyright on maps would be completely pointless and would never have been explicitly introduced.
That means that when considering the question of whether map data is copyrightable, the important question is not whether it has creativity, but whether it is a map. If the courts treat a collection of digital map data as a map, then it will fall within the explicit copyrightability of maps. If it in the eyes of the law it is not a map, then the situation is murkier.
Note that a "book full of nothing but facts", e.g. a telephone directory, is no *more* copyrightable in digital form than it is as a printed book--despite the fact that books are included at least as explicitly in copyright legislation as maps.
That's exactly the point I am making. Putting it into digital form does not change the copyright status. Since a paper telephone directory is not copyrightable in some countries (which we know from case law), a digital version is not either. Equally, since a paper map is copyrightable (which we know from both case law and statute), a digital version is copyrightable too.
I agree that putting something into a computer-readable form doesn't magically add copyrightability. It doesn't magically strip it away either.
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