Too Much Free Time

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
copyright, postal data, uk

Companies:
royal mail



UK Royal Mail Uses Copyright Claim To Shut Down Postal Code Info Online

from the address-not-found dept

One good thing in US copyright law compared to other countries is that we don't allow copyright on pure facts or on gov't produced information. Other countries aren't nearly as good about that, with ridiculous concepts like "Crown Copyright." Over in the UK, for example the Royal Mail has apparently bullied some site for making postal code data available. The info has now been taken offline, as the site claims it doesn't have the legal resources to fight this. The Royal Mail says that it was a violation of its intellectual property, and, of course, wants to license the database of postal codes at a mere £4,000 per year -- a bit steep for smaller community or non-profit sites. So, can anyone explain how copyright makes sense here? Was copyright really the incentive necessary to create postal codes?

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  1. identicon
    Anon, 7 Oct 2009 @ 2:47pm

    I think this post is pretty misleading. The Royal Mail aren't saying that no one can use postcodes, or even that postcodes are covered by copyright. They're saying Ernestmarples.com is allowing people to use the Royal Mail database for free. If RM are charging for a licence then isn't that... theft? After all someone at RM must compile and maintain this database and unfortunately they need to get paid for that work.

    If Ernestmarples wants to make its own database of every postcode in the UK then I think that would be a different story - one RM may not like but would have less of a legal stand point. However I'm pretty sure that would be ridiculously time consuming.

    As for people talking about other companies that offer postcodes, maybe they do have their own database or maybe, heaven forbid, they pay for a licence.

    Royal Mail has to make money like every other company, would you rather they put up postage or cut workers pay so we have even more bloody strikes?

    (PS The ROYAL Mail's "copyright" isn't crown copyright? Either it is, or they're misrepresenting themselves - this is a joke right?)

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