Friday April 13, 2012
Canada Post has filed a
copyright infringement lawsuit against Geolytica, which operates GeoCoder.ca,
a website that provides several geocoding services including free
access to a crowdsourced compiled database of Canadian postal codes.
Canada Post argues that it is the exclusive copyright holder of all
Canadian postal codes and claims that GeoCoder appropriated the
database and made unauthorized reproductions.
GeoCoder, which is being represented by CIPPIC, filed its statement
yesterday (I am on the CIPPIC Advisory Board but have not been involved
in the case other than providing a referral to CIPPIC when contacted by
GeoCoder's founder). The defence explains how GeoCoder managed to
compile a postal code database by using crowdsource techniques without
any reliance on Canada Post's database. The site created street address
look-up service in 2004 with users often including a postal code within
their query. The site retained the postal code information and
gradually developed its own database with the postal codes (a system
not unlike many marketers that similarly develop databases by compiling
this information). The company notes that it has provided access to the
information for free for the last eight years and that it is used by
many NGOs for advocacy purposes.
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