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Why my maps were offline for a week
(more info than you probably wanted to know)
 
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:

  1. Remove the list of "Lost Caches" from my web site, and
  2. Place the message "Geocaching Data Copyright 2001 Grounded, Inc." on each of my web pages as well as on each of my map images.
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.

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 claiming copyright.

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 web pages.

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.

Regards,

-Ed Hall (Buxley)

  Copyright © 2001 by Ed Hall. All rights reserved.
You are welcome to link to any of my pages from your web site but please do not place copies of this site's maps on your own web page. Geocache data has been gathered from geocaching.com, geocachingworldwide.com, navicache.com, and other sources. We thank them all!

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