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An elusive address…

My boss asked me to borrow a map off the internet today, so I got to explain the concept of trap streets. These are fake streets inserted into maps so the cartography company can tell if somebody is ripping off their stuff. Not just streets, any fake feature can be inserted as a copyright trap.

They hit us over the head with this when I worked in a corporate art department. You work for deep pockets; do not steal.

Bartlett Place above is a famous one from the A-Z. The A-Z (pronounced “A to zed”, naturally) is the most famous street map in the UK. They sell them everywhere here (or did before GPS, anyway). I believe I once read that there are 200 trap streets (or features) in the A-Z for London.

Ironically, you can’t copyright trap streets, at least in US law. See if you can wrap your head around this decision:

“To treat ‘false’ facts interspersed among actual facts and represented as actual facts as fiction would mean that no one could ever reproduce or copy actual facts without risk of reproducing a false fact and thereby violating a copyright … If such were the law, information could never be reproduced or widely disseminated.”

I think I got that.

p.s. I wrote to the man and asked if we could use his map and he said yes.

November 5, 2019 — 7:31 pm
Comments: 4