Tuesday, 8 April 2008

What next?

OK, for background on this, read the news, and come back...

How in the HELL can you copyright a street sign for pities sake?! Street signs display names, and are PUBLIC information. By copyrighting them, you are effectively prohibiting even map-makers from using the street names. Hell, someone writes an address on a letter, and bingo, copyright fees are incurred. The reason? If you copyright something, you MUST go after copyright violators, or lose the right to the copyright. It's a legal technicality thing, but trust me, it's true: Protect it or lose it.

Where the HELL do you draw the line?!

Easy. You TRADEMARK it, not copyright it.

Westminster Council went about this in entirely the wrong way - all they needed to do was TRADEMARK the DESIGN of the street signs, not copyright the content, to prevent unlicenced reproductions. Talk about local government stupidity.

It's also, and in my humble opinion, clearly a case of more Council officials seeing a potential money train, and going after it with little regard to the innocents who'll be caught in the middle. Say a tourist snaps a photo of the street sign. A council official notices, and gets a Copper to take their details, as they've obviously just committed copyright theft (image of copyrighted materials). Instant criminal, they just incurred a fine. See what I mean?

So, as I asked a moment or two ago:

WHERE do you draw the line?

By the way, fair use policy extends to all my blog articles - you MAY use text and images that I have produced, provided they are not used in any profit-making effort of any kind. For that, you'll need a licence from me ;) Third Party material may be subject to other copyright restrictions, so I wouldn't touch those if I were you ;) The T&C at the foot of the page will be amended before long :)

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