Awareness of Maps as Objects for Copyright

Author: Cerny, James W.

Source: Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 1 April 1978, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 45-56(12)


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For copyright purposes maps include marine charts, celestial and planetary maps, globes, and atlases. Copyright protection of maps is easily secured and inexpensive but is often neglected by cartographers. An understanding of map copyright involves consideration of registration, ownership, infringement, fair use, compilation of facts, and the distinction from a patent, among other topics. Most important, maps have been the subject of a unique interpretation of the copyright law by the courts, resulting in the requirement of an unusual level of originality. This is complicated by a lack of understanding by the courts of the nature of thematic maps and the general reluctance of the law to grapple with the technology of "neopublishing."

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 1978

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