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Copyright on GPS tracks?


Original Post
Jordan Brown · · Granada Hills, CA · Joined Jun 2018 · Points: 379

The Terms and Conditions say that users will not "... Reproduce, distribute or make derivative works of the Service or any of its contents without the express written consent of the Company;".

GPS tracks are clearly part of the contents of the service, and indeed they bear a copyright notice listing "MTB Project" as the author.

You offer a button to download a GPX file, so clearly you expect users to download and somehow use the GPS track data.  But what are the limits?

I assume that it is OK to upload the data to another mapping site (e.g. caltopo.com) for my more-or-less personal use - e.g., to share with small groups.  (Valid assumption?)

But what about, e.g., uploading the data to OpenStreetMap to add a trail there?

I'd say that politeness dictates that I should ask the original contributor, no matter what REI has to say about it.

But do I need to ask REI?  And is there any chance that the answer would be "yes"?

Of course, I could get the data directly from the original contributor, but that's a nuisance for both parties.

Jordan Brown · · Granada Hills, CA · Joined Jun 2018 · Points: 379

We'll ignore the question of whether the data in question is copyrightable at all - it is arguably a mere collection of facts, and collections of facts are not copyrightable.  A brief Google search indicates that this is an open legal question.  For my purposes, I'm happy to comply with whatever terms the nominal owners want.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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