[Geowanking] Lawsuit Claims Mapmaking Firm Owns Your Neighborhood

Landon Blake lblake at ksninc.com
Fri Oct 17 11:01:48 PDT 2008


That was a very interesting article. Thanks for posting it.

Here is a question:

It's obvious to me that you can't copyright a neighborhood name. But I
wonder to what extent you might have a legitimate claim from an
organization to the previously "unknown". In this case, I'd say you
might have the actual geographic boundaries of the neighborhoods and the
algorithm/technique to compute those boundaries that can be protected.

As much as I believe in open access to spatial data, I think if you are
hired by a company to answer a previous unknown, that you can't turn
around and do with that data what you want.

To me, we'd have a completely different situation if the neighborhood
boundaries already existed, and weren't being calculated as part of the
mapping process.

On a side note, the USGS quad maps do show some neighborhood names.

Another side note: Most subdivision maps in the United States are given
a name, which then usually becomes the name of the neighborhood. For
example, I live in Little John's Creek Subdivision. Subdivision maps
definitely have a defined boundary recorded in the public record, so you
should have a hard time copyrighting that!

I wonder if Subdivision Maps were used in this process of mapping
neighborhoods, or if it was a strictly "social geography" thing.

Landon

-----Original Message-----
From: geowanking-bounces at lists.burri.to
[mailto:geowanking-bounces at lists.burri.to] On Behalf Of Ian White
Sent: Friday, October 17, 2008 10:42 AM
To: geowanking at lists.burri.to
Subject: Re: [Geowanking] Lawsuit Claims Mapmaking Firm Owns Your
Neighborhood

yeah, as usual, taken out of context..I said local advertising
(print+online) is around $17b

but isn't the real interesting story more about spatial data and who
owns what...? come on, let's get it on! i know steve c and sean have
some strong opinions about this!



Ian White  ::  Urban Mapping Inc
690 Fifth Street  Suite 200  ::  San Francisco  CA  94107
T.415.946.8170 x800  ::  F.866.385.8266
urbanmapping.com/blog
________________________________________
From: geowanking-bounces at lists.burri.to
[geowanking-bounces at lists.burri.to] On Behalf Of Shane Ring
[shane.lee.ring at gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, October 17, 2008 10:34 AM
To: geowanking at lists.burri.to
Subject: [Geowanking] Lawsuit Claims Mapmaking Firm Owns Your
Neighborhood

$17 billion really?  How was that number calculated?  Just curious...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The lawsuit highlights the growing importance of neighborhood data in
web applications and science. Since Wahl pioneered the industry four
years ago, other companies have entered the neighborhood-mapping field,
which has swollen into a big part of a $17 billion localized-mapping
industry, says Ian White, CEO of San Francisco-based Urban Mapping.

http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/2008/10/neighborhood
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