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Trap streets, easter eggs and Mountweazels

Speaking of maps without copyright, when I were a young corporate art drudge, it was beaten into me that I must never, ever steal art. Not for any moral principle, you understand, but because I worked for a big company with a lot of money and my boss would nail my ass to the wall if I got sued for copyright infringement.

To this day, I experience whole-body cringe when someone hands me a book and says, “here, you can use this picture.” Which has happened to me, I swear, hundreds of times.

Maps were always a particular problem, because we always needed good maps and who the hell can develop a map from scratch? Oh, the lengths I went to to steal maps without stealing maps.

I was schooled in the fear of trap streets. They’re fake roads put on maps so the copyright holder can spot when someone has traced their map. Here’s an article about trap streets in London. I pinched the picture at the top from that article, because I thought that would be meta.

Sometimes, the solution would be to put trap streets and easter eggs into a bit of traced topography. Or remove bits. Or stretch or shrink it along an axis. The point being, when one bit of art is overlaid on another, they shouldn’t match.

I have written about trap streets before. See also Mountweazel.

March 15, 2023 — 8:03 pm
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