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Re: Maps that are accessible

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 10 Jun 2004 22:36:03 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200406102136.i5ALa3w05320@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

>   Do you mean "infringe map copyrights" or "make fair use of information
>   as per copyright laws" ?

IANAL but I believe that you can do both at the same time, in that fair
use is a defence for infringement.  However, if you look at the terms
of use for map servers, they are pretty explicit that this sort of use
is not allowed, and if you think about the sort of uses to which people[4]
would want to put map extracts, this is the main one and does represent
real lost revenue (one of the guidelines for fair use[1] is that there 
should be no significant loss of revenue to the copyright owner - i.e.
would the recipient otherwise pay for the relevent map, or the sender
be prepared to pay for a licence to copy - the polling card I used to
day had a map[2] of the location of the polling station and had to acknowledge
the copyright of the map producer (and presumably a royalty was paid)).

In the case of map servers, what they want is online access to the page
that contains the map, so that anyone seeing the map also sees the 
associated advertising.  This is more generally true of information
providing commercial web sites.

>   Frankly, I don't see what that has to do with the current discussion.
>   Law, and in particular copyright law, has no demands put on it to make
>   information accessible, after all.

Intellectual property considerations are one of the major reasons why
businesses cannot provide much real information on public web sites;
information has a large market value, and businesses won't give it
away without getting full value for it[3].  The other legal impediment
to providing information is that you generally can't be sued for not
providing information, but you can be sued for providing untrue informtion
and can incurr considerable legal costs and cash flow problems, even if
the information is true, if someone objects to it.  

Copyright is a legal tool that allows people to provide information, but
only to the extent that they can easily take legal action against 

[1] in many countries, there is no precise definition of fair use, but
courts are expected to make allowances for uses that are in the public
interest, don't represent significant lost sales to the copyright owner,
or which would be reasonably expected by the nature of the product, the
latter, particularly for computer software and paid for web pages (e.g.
copying into the browser cache of pages not labelled as uncachable).
A lot of the public assume that fair use is much more liberal than this.

[2] the map was only a small part of a page from a map book and was just
the outlines of features, unlike the shading and colour that would have
been in the book.

[3] if they are selling products, they will only give enough away to 
achieve the sale; if they are a portal, they will only give away information
commensurate with their advertising revenue.

[4] think about businesses in particular.
Received on Thursday, 10 June 2004 17:39:39 UTC

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