Law and the GeoWeb

I’ll be there…

Law and the GeoWeb

A workshop on “Intellectual Property and Geographic Data in the
Internet Era” sponsored by Creative Commons and the United States
Geological Survey (USGS) in conjunction with the annual meeting of
AAG, April 11, 2011, Seattle, Washington. The workshop will be held at
the campus of Microsoft Research, and will be streamed live on the

This workshop will focus on intellectual property issues with
geographic data, exploring situations when users and creators ranging
from individuals to local, state and federal agencies as well as
private companies and non-profits create, share and reuse geographic
information from different sources over the Internet in their

For more information, please see
or search on Twitter for #lawandgeoweb


U.S Copyright Law protects tangible original works with creative
content but the law also ensures that facts, that is, data that are
discovered rather than invented, remain free for everyone’s benefit.
This ideas/expression dichotomy creates a lot of issues in the
Internet age when information is very easily created, shared, used and

With inexpensive computing and networking power available to everyone,
geographic datasets are increasingly being created, shared and used by
individuals, grassroots organizations, and private corporations. These
data come with different expectations with regards to how they may be
used resulting in a hodgepodge of licensing and contractual
obligations that hinders data interoperability. Mixing data of
different provenance creates new data with typically more restrictive
licensing conditions. Public agencies may be unable to mix licensed
data with government data due to restrictive licensing terms of the
resultant dataset, and thus, may be unable to capitalize on and
benefit from user-generated content.

Workshop Structure

The current line-up of speakers from federal, state and local
agencies, Creative Commons, grassroots agencies, intellectual property
lawyers, the geospatial industry, and research and academia includes:

* Ed Arabas, National States Geographic Information Council
* Greg Babinski, King County, State of Washington
* Michael Brick, Microsoft Legal, Bing Maps
* Steve Coast, Founder, OpenStreetMap 
* Kari Craun, Director, National Geospatial Technical Operations, USGS
* Ed Parsons, Chief Technologist, Google Maps, Google
* Diane Peters, General Counsel, Creative Commons
* Tim Trainor, Bureau Chief, Geography Division, US Census Bureau
* Paul Uhlir, Director, Board for Research, Data and Information, NRC

The format of the workshop will encourage discussion and participation.


To ensure those directly involved in the topic get a chance to attend
the workshop, attendance is based on a short application form
accessible at
Deadline for applying for the workshop is December 18, 2010. Selected
applicants will be informed by January 15, 2011.

Attendees will also be able to submit longer papers for publication in
a special issue of the peer-reviewed, completely free and open access
online journal “International Journal of Spatial Data Infrastructure
Research” published by the Joint Research Centre of the European


The workshop is organized in conjunction with the AAG annual meeting.
The workshop will be held on the campus of Microsoft Research, and run
from 1 PM to 5 PM on Monday, April 11, 2011.

There is no fee for this workshop and participants do not have to
register for the AAG Annual Meeting. The workshop is limited to 50
participants to facilitate discussion.

Proceedings of the workshop and selected longer papers will be
published in a special issue of the open-access International Journal
of Spatial Data Infrastructure Research published by the Joint
Research Centre of the European Commission.


Please contact either Puneet Kishor, Creative Commons
[] or Barbare Poore, USGS
[] if you have any questions.