Friday, May 08, 2009

The Derivatives Market

Why do pictures of the US president cost less than maps of the UK? |

An issue worth highlighting, I think.

I was trying to produce maps for local authority websites way back in the 1990s, when I first tripped over the fact that the Ordnance Survey - to all intents and purposes - owns a copyright on what Britain actually looks like.

They will protest about the costs of their research, or course - although the point about NASA will make them look a bit silly doing so. But more salient is that the White House photography is a product of artistic creativity, whereas OS maps - however well-designed - are merely representations of physical fact.

It's odd that the USA, of all places, should be giving us a lesson in the philosophy of intellectual property. But there it is.