As you may or may not know, on Saturday May 26th, I removed all geocaching data from
my web site (http://www.brillig.com/geocaching/)
and my cache maps went blank. Jeremy Irish, who runs the geocaching.com website, had requested
two days earlier that I make two changes to my web site:
When I suggested we might compromise on these two issues, I was told by Mr. Irish in
no uncertain terms that "there is no sort of compromise [possible]" and I was threatened
with legal action if I did not comply with his "requests" by the end of the weekend. At
the same time, my access as a player to the geocaching.com website was effectively blocked.
- Remove the list of "Lost Caches" from my web site, and
- Place the message "Geocaching Data Copyright 2001 Grounded, Inc." on each of my web
pages as well as on each of my map images.
Since this was the Memorial Day weekend, I was unable to seek legal advice within the
deadline imposed by Mr. Irish. In respect to Mr. Irish's copyright claims, and because
at the time I was unsure of the legalities involved, I removed all references to cache
data from my web pages. My geocache maps went blank.
I have attempted communication with Mr. Irish on several occasions over the past nine
days. Five days ago, I told him that "I have every intention of respecting [his]
copyright." and requested a clarification as to what information on his pages he was
I did not receive a reply. Surprisingly, I have not received any direct communication
from Mr. Irish, or anyone else claiming to speak for Grounded, Inc., in over a week.
During the past week, I have spoken to a number of experts in both Copyright Law and
Intellectual Property Rights. I explained the concept of geocaching to them and showed
them print outs of my web pages and gave them a tour the geocaching.com web site. It
is their opinion that data, or collections of data, such as names, addresses or map
coordinates cannot be protected by Copyright Law.
While I respect the hard work of Mr. Irish on his web page, I cannot respect his claim
of copyright of geocaching data. For that reason, I will not be honoring his request
that I place "Geocaching Data Copyright 2001 Grounded, Inc." on my map images and my
In the spirit of cooperation however, I have acceded to his first request and have
removed the Lost Caches page from my web site. In addition, I have placed the notice
"Geocache data has been gathered from geocaching.com, geotreasures.com,
navicache.com, and other sources. We thank them all!" on each of my site's web pages.
The geocache maps I have created are back online. Thank you for your patience.
-Ed Hall (Buxley)