iPod Maps

IPod Maps Draw Legal Threats

Transit officials in New York and San Francisco have launched a copyright crackdown on a website offering free downloadable subway maps designed to be viewed on the iPod.

IPodSubwayMaps.com is the home of iPod-sized maps of nearly two dozen different transit systems around the world, from the Paris Metro to the London Underground.

[…] More than 9,000 people downloaded the map, which was viewable on either an iPod or an iPod nano, before Bright received a Sept. 14 letter from Lester Freundlich, a senior associate counsel at New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, saying that Bright had infringed the MTA’s copyright and that he needed a license to post the map and to authorize others to download it.

[…] Bright said he’d grabbed the New York and San Francisco BART maps from the official websites, cut them into smaller sections in Adobe Photoshop, and then put them back together at resolutions that are readable on iPods.

[…] “My guess is that it comes into a gray area when I start distributing the map and maybe when I put up ads, even though I make just about a buck a day with Google ads,” he said.

BART’s letter to Bright read in part, “There is a widespread belief that materials published by public agencies such as BART are in the public domain. This belief is incorrect.”

Later: Subway Authorities Eye IPod-Friendly Maps [pdf]

Even later: Lost Underground? Check Your IPod [pdf]