The artist would clearly win his case in court, and sounds like he has the resources to do it, so I'm not worried. And after all, the "geometric" style subway map has prior art as the London Tube map starting in 1931 .
But I can't imagine what is going on at the MTA that they felt compelled to try to take this down in the first place. What on earth do they think they're trying to accomplish with it? Is there some kind of legal liability they think they're protecting themselves against? They're a governmental agency for crying out loud.
It truly boggles the mind.
But instead they're trying to suppress a superior design using faulty copyright arguments.
- Given two stations, is there a line between them, and what is it? Edge to Berman's, as it distinguishes service on the same corridor.
- Given a station on a line, what are the next few stops? Berman's wins, since the MTA map requires reading the lines that stop at each station.
- Weekday service. A push, shown by both maps.
- Weeknight service. Berman's wins, as the MTA map doesn't show it.
- Weekend service. Berman's wins, as the MTA map doesn't show it.
New Yorkers have gotten used to getting the information we need from the MTA map, but let's not confuse familiarity with functionality.
New York City's map shows a variety of out-of-system features which the designer's map doesn't bother with: railroads, avenues, major cross streets, major bus corridors (the original identifies airport link stops but not routes), local commuter rail corridors (LIRR, Metro North), regional rail corridors (Amtrak), ferries, road bridges, tunnels, the Roosevelt Island Aerial Tram, and many more parks.
The MTA map this more effectively answers more-general questions about New York. It can tell you to walk through the park between the Natural History Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This does come at the cost of interfering with several of the more-specific questions you identified.
And don't try to use the MTA map as a guide to New York City, it is woefully geographically inaccurate. But it still looks like it might be right, so it is in fact quite misleading.
The responsibility of a transit system map is to tell you about the transit system. It should do that above all else.
Do you actually live and work in New York? I'll assume not, and your attitude proceeds from ignorance of the situation.
Suppose you work at 1 Pierrepont Plaza (former HQ of Hillary Clinton's campaign, bit of trivia there) and you want to go to Nakamura Ramen on the Lower East Side. You have a subway station right outside the door with the 2345R train, but you'd be a fool to take any of those instead of walking the extra five minutes to Jay St Metrotech for the F.
You are at Broadway - Lafayette St, and you wish to head to the Flatiron Building. The nearest subway to that is the R train. You can take the 6 and transfer at Union Square... but really, you should just walk from the 6 train at 28 St.
You are staying in Fort Greene. The nearest stop is Fulton St (G). The next nearest stop is Lafayette (C). Even if you are headed to Columbus Circle (ABCD1), you might find yourself better served by by walking to DeKalb to catch the B or the Q, which are acceptably close, have more frequent service, and bypass lower Manhattan. (If you are going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you will instead walk to Nevins.)
You work at Union Square and live in Williamsburg. A signal problem -- residual damage from Hurricane Sandy when the tunnel was flooded -- prevents the L train from operating. What are your options for getting home today?
Your proposed universal norm actually makes a lot of sense ... for hybrid commuter rail / metro systems, such as the DC Metro, or BART, where questions like these are only minor and occasional. It is far more ambiguous for NYC.
Why do the situations you've proposed have any benefit from the MTA's map? Trying to determine which stations are near your origin or destination based on a system map is a fool's errand, particularly for as large a network as ours. If you're estimating walking times based on distance on the MTA's map, you're going to be very unpleasantly surprised.
The part of those questions that a system map can be useful for is which lines are continuous, which as I mentioned above, is best done when you can see it clearly rather than needing to read it.
I haven't heard this before. I presumed the author simply stopped updating the app. Can you elaborate?
On the other hand, citymapper, google maps, etc. make showing the "outside world" on a subway map less important than in the past, so perhaps it's time to reevaluate.
I think the current map really shines in lower manhattan, where the stops closest to the staring/ending location aren't always the best ones to get on.
Every few years one of his ridiculous filings or C&D letters seem to pop up on a blog or in the news.
Edit: Wikipedia says the CTA started using it in response to the 9/11 attacks, but the reference goes to a generic security page (probably changed since it was added). Did find a dated reference from 2004 though, over a year before that trademark was filed: https://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/cta-metra-beef-up-securi...
But when faced with circumstances such as this - where one is inclined to say "why don't they spend that money on X instead?" - I find it useful to reflect on how organisations, and especially government organisations, work. Feel free to ignore this if you already understand and are just "venting" (quite rightfully I'd add), but what follows would be my "explain like I'm five" for why this sort of thing not only happens, but is almost guaranteed to happen.
See, the thing is, they aren't "spending money on this" in the sense that you or I would, say, spend money on lunch - ie. we have a pot of money, and we choose to take $10 out and buy lunch with it, leaving $10 less to spend on everything else.
The reality is that they have multiple pots of money, and each pot of money is only allowed to be spent on some category of expenditure. It'd be like if we had a bank account each for food, rent, transportation, clothing, utilities, etc, and you were only allowed to spend from each separate account accordingly. Now, when you got paid you put a proportion of your salary into each account - in proportions that you get to set annually. You can't move money between accounts - at best at the end of the year you can take everything that's left over and re-allocate it as a lump sum according to the rules.
Now let's stretch the analogy further - instead of you managing everything yourself, imagine if you were merely one person managing one account, and other people (say, the rest of your family) individually managed each account. Imagine the annual negotiation for doing the apportionment of the monthly income.
Now imagine that you get a personal "allowance" for managing that account, and the size of the allowance is related to the proportion of the total budget that the account encompasses - only fair, given that more money equals more responsibility, right? How do you think that would change the tone of the annual budgeting process?
What we have here in the above tortured analogy is probably a reasonable best case example of budget and monetary management in a big organisation. You can easily make it worse - say, money left over at the end of the year? Your "automatic" starting point for budgetary negotiation next year drops by that amount, for example.
Anyway, back to the point. They aren't "spending the money" as such. It's not like someone had the budget of the entire MTA sitting there and asked themselves "What should I do with this money - should I pay a lawyer to send a copyright letter to this artist, or should I pay someone to clean up some graffiti?"
What they have is a legal department staffed with X people, many of whom are mandatory to have available on staff for when something comes up. But they also have to do something with their days. They are paid regardless of what they do - be it write threatening letters, go to court, negotiate contracts, or browse hacker news. But their boss will definitely notice if they aren't doing something. And the boss' boss will notice too, eventually.
So maybe this kind of nonsense is a warning signal that the legal department is over-staffed and some over-zealous member got bored and decided that this was a better use of their time than writing long-winded HN posts. And maybe this will get the attention of the higher-ups, who might ask the right questions, such as "Are we over-staffed in Legal?" And maybe the legal department budget gets cut by one FTE and that allocation can be spread elsewhere. So maybe the year after next when the maintenance division asks for another graffiti crew, they'll get it.
>“Yes, there are minor differences between your map and the MTA map,” Freundlich wrote in his email. “But given your access to the MTA map on the MTA website, and the substantial similarities of your map to the MTA map, the only rational conclusion is that your map is based on the MTA Vignelli map.”
MTA acknowledges the artist map is based on the MTA map and acknowledges differences no matter how minor.
If the artist gleaned facts from the official MTA map, and re-represented them on his own map, that does not make his a derivative work, even if the facts came solely from the map. The facts also could have come from riding every line and noting the station names and locations.
It's like copying a phone book. You can take numbers from AT&T's customer directory and put them in your own phone book, because that's all facts. There's no creative representation there. If the phone book represented the numbers in hand-drawn calligraphy, that visual representation would be protected, but not the factual content; you could still copy the names and numbers and re-render them in your own typeface.
Fair use doesn't even come into it. Naked facts are non-copyrightable. They have no protections whatsoever. Facts are public domain.
In this case I think the MTA is still wrong though, just not for this reason.
The visualization rules for "transit map" are more open to interpretation than for "pie chart", but if you look at the maps for London, Paris, Shanghai, Washington DC, Chicago, etc., they are almost self-evident:
1. Represent major stations as white circles with black outlines.
2. Represent service lines with easily distinguishable colors.
3. Constrain lines to angles divisible by 45 degrees (Paris divisible by 30 degrees).
4. Represent non-standard service with a dashed, dotted, or broken line.
5. Stations that are connected by pedestrian access are connected on the map. Minor stations, without service interchanges, may be represented by a smaller white dot or a tick mark.
Apply the rules to the facts, and the map appears. Some human tweaking may be necessary for clarity, and that is the only opportunity for copyrightable creativity to creep in.
MTA would need to assert a particular map feature that cannot be derived from applying transit map rules to the MTA transit facts. They did not.
A map isn't "naked facts", maps can certainly be copyright protected.
"Only the owner of copyright in a work has the right to prepare, or to authorize someone else to create, an adaptation of that work."
To clarify my sibling response here, I'm acknowledging that statement was wrong. However, to say that _derivative_ works are "not at all" protected by Fair Use isn't entirely accurate either, as they absolutely can be depending on the the judgement and application of the four-point doctrine of Fair Use. The parent comment here cites part of the copyright law, but Fair Use, which I cited, is a core component of the same copyright law that limits the application of the section they cited.
> Lester Freundlich, an attorney for the MTA, told Berman in an email Wednesday that his subway map was “clearly a derivative work of MTA’s current version of the Vignelli subway map.”
The MTA's attorney literally calls his map a "derivative work" which is something that's protected by Fair Use. When I read that in the article, I immediately thought that the artist's response should have been, "Thanks for clarifying that it's clearly a derivative work; so you'll drop the claim now?"
EDIT: For anyone reading this without additional context, I should clarify, derivative works are protected as long as they're transformative, which this seems pretty clearly enough so to count. So, it's less a point that being a derivative work itself means it's protected, than the point that being a derivative work doesn't mean it's not protected like the MTA's attorney seemed to imply.
That said, I wouldn't even call what I was looking at derivative. I can barely match the transit lines up for most of it, and the styling is completely different. It goes beyond transformative to just being a unique artistic rendering of the same base system. That's the phone book scenario the article raises to a T.
I was definitely being imprecise with my wording though, as I was thinking about a _transformative_ work when I read their attorney say "derivative" work, where a transformative work is a type of derivative work that is protected by [subjective] Fair Use.
I also agree with you though that I wouldn't even necessarily consider this a transformative work of the other map, as that assumes he started with the other map. But just starting with the same facts, which aren't copyrightable, and following standard cartographic conventions while exercising the author's own artistic expression into the final rendition would just be a separate work entirely.
Ex: I write and produce a new SW film, and attempt to sell it without a license from Disney. I'm going to get sued into oblivion, because their copyright still applies, in terms of setting up the setting and characters.
Fair use can apply with derivative works (ex: I make a parody version of Star Wars, such as "Troops"), in which case you may succeed in being able to do stuff with your new SW parody, but you're likely to have to pay a bunch of lawyers a lot of money first if they don't like it. But being derivative doesn't guarantee it's Fair Use.
Laws have chilling effects though, so the fact that one defendant who happens to be well-resourced and legally savvy is able to fight this battle does not mean that everything is OK.
All IP is not the same.
Actually, the MTA is a Public Interest Corporation. There is a difference.
Officially licensed MTA merchandise bearing iconic NYC transportation graphics for tourists and transplants.
They are a public benefit corporation, and their governance is through a 21-member board. Board members are nominated by the Governor, with four recommended by New York City's mayor and one each by the county executives of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, and Putnam counties (the members representing the latter four cast one collective vote). There are also non voting members representing unions and commuter groups.
For most purposes, they are a government agency, except for, and most especially, borrowing money. They have no taxing authority, and debt obligations of the corporation are NOT debt obligations of the state, and thus do not count against statutory limits on state borrowing, nor do they affect the bond rating of the states general obligation borrowing.
Care to elaborate? That's a pretty vague argument.
Other purpose: Their debt is not an obligation of NYS.
My guess is it's one person in a legal department operating somewhat independently trying to make a big splash with some higher-ups. That's the only way it would make sense to me.
I hav a LOT of problems with the MTA, but this isn't one of them.
I'll bite. Because it clearly does not benefit the taxpayers that fund the agency.
The taxpayers paid the MTA to make a map. Assume someone creates a derivative work that makes more sense (mind you, this is clearly not what happened -- if it is not obvious to you, you have not really read the article).
There is absolutely no benefit to the taxpayers to have the "derivative" map removed. The availability of the "derivative" map does not affect the availability of the official map, which is given away for free (not for profit).
In other words, if I pay you to develop software, and someone else writes a better manual for it, you'd be an idiot to take that down, and I will not be happy.
Merely looking for clarification, does playing Lawyer's advocate really work if you've already acknowledged the claim has no merit?
I'm saying it's reasonable to argue as if the claim were valid to make my other point, that they should be a responsible steward of their IP.
"That article also claimed the MTA received $500,000 a year in licensing revenue, a whopping .003 percent of the agency’s 2013 revenue."
Perhaps this isn't from the map, but either way, the logic of my suggestion applies equally to protecting the asset for future monetization as much as current monetization.
Loss of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_dress protection?
>But there is a potentially critical flaw in that logic. The MTA created The Weekender in 2011, two years after Berman created his map, which he uploaded to Wikipedia in 2009.
There needs to be consequences for such blatant fraud and abuse of the DMCA, ridiculous claims like this have gotten so common.
I don't think the city should be able to automatically nullify someone's copyright claim by referencing it in law, and I don't think they should release laws that require citizens to pay fees (or anything else unreasonable) to read. It should be on the city to figure out a deal before it's the law.
That said, I think it's counter-productive for a standards organization to not make standards public domain in the first place if they're so widely applicable as to become a law, but maybe there's an angle here I'm missing.
At soon as its inclusion in law is effective, their ability to collect fees or in any way restrict access is void. The referenced version, from that point forward, needs to be publicly accessible at no charge for as long as it is legally binding.
If they don't want to relinquish financial control, don't make it part of the public record or legally binding. QED.
No one should be denied access to legal documentation that they could be held liable for compliance/non-compliance.
I'd argue even further and say that if any portion of the law or any supporting documentation is not fully accessible at any time, there should be no liability for non-compliance.
I'm joking of course. What was the problem, MTA maps? Yeah, those are publicly accessable.
This isn't relevant to the issue at hand, though, because the MTA isn't part of the state government.
The MTA is a “public benefit corporation“ owned by the State of New York .
I've explained in a comment below what a public benefit corporation is. Court rulings have confirmed their status as private corporations, even though the governor has the authority to appoint the board of directors.
Which are not part of the federal government and are allowed to make copyright claims.
If you'd like to be deliberately obtuse, go for it, but I think it's clear the original comment was in reference to the fact that state and local governments can own copyright (they can, but that's irrelevant here, because the MTA is not a branch of the state government).
The works of the federal government are a well known exception. And while I'm sure there are some state/county/city governments that also place their works in the public domain that's not the default.
It's a pretty fair generalization to say that if something wasn't produced by the federal government that it is most likely covered by copyright.
"Let's make money on something that was created with public money"
"Let's rescue this private business with the public money"
Surprised none of the other comments have pointed out that this is not true. The MTA is a public benefit corporation, which is a concept particular to New York State.
The simplest way to describe a NY public benefit corporation is that it's a private corporation, but the board of directors for the corporation is appointed by the governor.
Court rulings have confirmed that employees of PBCs in NY are not state employees; they are employees of the corporation.
A bond issued by the MTA is considered a revenue bond. The only source of income to pay the bond holders have is the revenues of the MTA. A bond issued by New York State is considered a general obligation of the state, with the expectation that New York State will use its tax power to pay the bond holders.
If minimum wage for NY state employees is different than the Federal minimum, the MTA would use the Federal minimum.
Then they're either state employees, or private actors wearing the colors of state authority. Which one of those is true is not interesting or relevant.
As we've seen with PG&E's behavior on the other side of the country, these entities are treated like official state agencies whenever they find it convenient to be treated that way, and like private businesses when that's more convenient.
It is not in the riders' interest -- or the taxpayer's -- for anyone to be allowed to dictate who can publish maps of a publicly-funded transit system. Whether the MTA is called a "public-private partnership," a "utility," a "transit authority," a "public benefit corporation," or simply a "government agency" is, again, not the least bit relevant.
Based on the article, though, the MTA might have a good faith defense. If they believed it was based on their map, and retract it after being made aware that it was not, they could win on a good faith defense.
Absolutely. Unfortunately, common sense does not appear to be a powerful lobby in any country.
People in power are never going to prescribe consequences for their own behavior.
I had a subreddit with 25k people that got shut down due to a single angry user barraging fake DMCA requests on every post. It got shut down for “repeat copyright infringement” even though he owned none of the content. We tried creating a new one and he did the same and it got shut down even faster since it was a small sub. Reddit admins didn’t give a shit despite our mods efforts.
Reddit apparently isn’t in the business of deciding whether or not a claim is legitimate. Same with Etsy, which is the whole problem. It’s impossible to scale for these sites.
So their only choice is to remove each piece of content and then let you challenge the removal.
The real problem is the law itself, which provides no consequences for false claims. If congress would just add a false claims consequence, it would solve a lot of issues with the DMCA.
That's the whole point of DMCA. If Reddit took a side, they would now be responsible for the copyright infringement. They may be able to filter the most egregious one, but it's still a risk.
One day I get an email that the US Postal Service had my mailbox taken down from SketchFab via DMCA complaint. Apparently they hold at least two trademarks on the color and shape of their mailboxes. While I think my crappy art fell under fair use, it wasn't worth it to try and fight that.
What really makes me angry about the whole ordeal is that the USPS is a consistent money loser. So why are they wasting cash issuing DMCA notices to 3D modelers on SketchFab?
Why can't we just leave art alone?
This isn't a proof that you can't do it, a DMCA takedown is a way to avoid going to court to prove that you can't do it.
I guess you wouldn't get DMCA takedown over a drawing because it's probably clear that they would lose in court, while a 3D models hasn't been proved in court yet, thus you are less likely to want to push it to court.
It's a clear abuse of power. They don't do it because they are right, they do it because they can.
Not sure if I agree. If a song is included in a game without license, it wouldn't fly either. Designs can be copyrighted and may not be copied by others without permission. If (game) designers want to use a mailbox in a game, why not make one themselves? Why use others' work without permission?
Stealing models byte for byte is obviously a copyright issue, as is stealing music
The issue is that companies can trademark the "form" of their products and therefore demand licencing fees so no, they couldn't just make their own mailbox because USPS would attempt to sue them for violating their trademark on the shape of the mailbox. Basically, it's become a shitty way of getting a forever-patent as well as rent seeking within totally unrelated industries.
Some common examples:
Model a tractor and make it green -> John Deere sues you
Model a car with no badges that looks vaguely like a Porsche -> Porsche sues you
Model a military jet designed entirely with taxpayer money -> Lockheed Martin/Boeing/Textron/Mikoyan/Sukhoi/etc sue you
Model a tube with some fins and add literally any military AGM/MIM/AIM/etc name -> Raytheon sues you
Model a AR style rifle and make the filename 'm4' -> Colt sues you
Mind you none of the above affect the respective industries of the listed companies.
Sorry if I misunderstood. I'm not entirely sure what you didn't mean but here's my best-effort attempt.
I think my confusion came from the example you cited in your previous post, about the Honda Jet that was removed from a game. The game, as I understand from , essentially includes a model of the Honda Jet which is an accurate 3D model of the real-world Honda Jet. It also bears the same name. None of your "common examples" go this far, they do 'resemble' the product that is allegedly sued over, but they are not 1:1 3D (computer model) renditions of the real-world products and are not named the same.
> Stealing models byte for byte is obviously a copyright issue, as is stealing music
Glad we agree.
> The issue is that companies can trademark the "form" of their products and therefore demand licencing fees
This is where we disagree. As a (hypothetical) "creator", I would like to exert control over what I produce, in line with the law, except when I decide to licence it in some liberal fashion (GPL/MIT/CC whatever). How is replicating a 3D model of a plane, along with the name, not an infringement of the rights of the creator? If you want to respond, please keep in mind that we are talking about current copyright and trademark law, not some utopia in which new laws can be enacted willy-nilly.
> they couldn't just make their own mailbox because USPS would attempt to sue them
Really? There is not a single mailbox design that doesn't violate USPS' copyright?!
I will concede that copyright terms are long, but not indefinite (although for practical purposes they may appear indefinite).
Finally, I would like to discuss this claim:
> Model a military jet designed entirely with taxpayer money
On the surface it seems ridiculous. But why would the government (1) outsource the contract to the listed companies and then (2) agree to terms which state that the copyright/trademark belongs to the outsourcing companies? If you think about both (1) and (2) it's either a major flaw in how government contracts work (could be...) or the companies want the intellectual property and have "priced it in" into the dollar value of the contracts. Essentially, if the IP was government property, the military jet would cost more taxpayer dollars. What do you think? Honest question.
> If you want to respond, please keep in mind that we are talking about current copyright and trademark law, not some utopia in which new laws can be enacted willy-nilly.
This is the problem though. I don't disagree with anything you said as far as what the state of current copyright/trademark law is, I just disagree with the laws and think they're immoral.
I consider the mailbox issue especially egregious. Lets say you want to make some content like the infamous American suburb map in Hitman 2. You want to create an environment that's relatable to your audience so you model a typical American subdivision with houses and roads and all the detail you could dream of. Then you get hit with C&D letters from USPS because you put down a letterbox that you'd see on any street corner, Ford for a Mustang you put in a driveway, another because an NPC was wearing a Polo shirt and so on until you have to totally neuter your concept. Meanwhile if hollywood wants to do the same thing for a movie, nobody bats an eye.
Nobody designed any of this stuff sitting in the conference room saying "...and here's how much video game licencing revenue we can expect for this letterbox..."
> companies want the intellectual property and have "priced it in" into the dollar value of the contracts
Trust me... they do no such thing. I've been involved with this several times.
At the end of the day, it's just leveraging a broken legal system for rent seeking because...they can!
The fact that you did the effort of making the mailbox in a drawing program or re-recording the song doesn't mean its suddenly free of copyright.
Insofar that the the USPS is a subsidized service, I don't agree that it is a money loser. Considering that the mail is the way that nearly all bills have been collected, historically, I'd say it has far more than paid for its self.
From an article by the EFF:
> The circumstances under which a company could actually lose a trademark—such as abandonment and genericide—are quite limited. Genericide […] is very rare […]. Courts also set a very high bar to show abandonment (usually years of total non-use). Importantly, failure to enforce a mark against every potential infringer does not show abandonment.
But that's not the choice.
It's really a choice between blocking a well-made, free app and hundreds of other apps that vary in quality, price, etc, or not blocking any of them, or trying to assess each app on an individual basis. Not blocking anything means their own app will be lost in a swarm of low-quality rip-offs. Assessing each app is hard, and opens the door to complaints (and maybe law suits) about why one app was allowed and another wasn't. It's far simpler, easier, and dare I say fairer to block everything.
The best way to get rid of low-quality copycat apps isn't to ban all apps, it's to go after the reason those low-quality copycats exist in the first place. That is, advertising. There's no point in making a garbage app unless you can trick some people into installing it, and monetize them before they notice and delete the app. Advertising (in general, meaning both showing ads and harvesting data for the advertising industry) is what enables these apps. Curtail that, and there won't be a need to make any choice here.
So just by luck of the draw whatever bureaucrat came across Berman's map first thought to themselves "hey they can't do that" instead of "oh look, the public is building useful things on our work" and all the mechanisms used to fight a political turf war kicked into motion and once that happened there was no turning back.
Plus, you know, if we can stretch our imaginations for a moment and imagine that maybe the organization gives a fractional iota of a damn about the customer's lives even beyond the direct impact to them, it's not a good customer experience for bad info to be floating around either. (Maybe not, you know, the NYC MTA, but at least some organizations are still small enough to at least think about that sometimes.)
"It's also not necessarily true that third-party data is worse than the official sources; in some cases it can even be superior."
Well, an organization is hardly going to use that as part of its decision making. Organizations are essentially incapable of admitting that their job is being better done by someone else. So in terms of answering the question as it was asked it's not terribly relevant.
If you want to know why an organization might want to control its schedules, you need to empathize with it and put yourself it its/their shoes, not come at it as if you're still an outsider. Having extreme distaste for the organization merely means you're going to empathize and put yourself in the shoes of an organization you don't like; it doesn't change the basic procedure for understanding it.
I could see (and have seen) some people’s response to identical works, especially one produced by the public that could even be better, as negative. Put simply, they want to maintain control over what they see as “theirs”. This happens internally in companies all the time. I’m sure it was just a matter of this designer CC’ing legal when they came across it. They probably made some bullshit case about maintaining control, liability, prior art, etc.
When I was at LinkedIn, it was common for 3rd party designers to redesign the UI of the site and post on their blog. This made a lot of designers who actually worked there angry. I noticed the better the design, the more upset they got. They largely ignored the ones that weren’t that good. They would push to have legal step in and thankfully we had management who could see reason and reel in cry-baby designers.
Anyway, this may not be what actually happened but I think it’s a high possibility. People are incredibly petty.
This is complete BS and they know it. But just in case there's any doubt, why not ask the people of NY what they think?
Perhaps some day government will modernize to the point where there's direct democracy and individuals can decide how to vote on policies and spending.
Autocracy is based on the assumption that one man is wiser than a million men. Let’s play that over again, too. Who decides?
— Robert Heinlein
EDIT: found the original text, rather than my somewhat botched memory of it.
KickMap (iOS) is another example of a map that improves in the same way. http://kickmap.com/
To the unfamiliar, it's not obvious which lines go where. Yes, technically there are tiny numbers next to each station, but they're not as prominent as the bigger, colored bubbles, especially when you're peering at a map from a couple feet away.
You only have to watch tourists stare cluelessly so many times, get on the wrong train, go the wrong direction, etc. to understand that something isn't clear.
Compare to this view of the same section from KickMap: https://dsh.re/1a003
It's instantly clearer which train goes where.
Maybe Paris and London should sue the MTA for copying their maps.
Classic DMCA abuse. Don't fight the hard battles, just send the notices and hope the company has some boilerplate process.
I'm having a little trouble finding the link, but I read an interesting article sometime in the past few years (possibly after it was posted on HN) about the difficulty of designing good metro maps. Geographically accurate maps would be cluttered and confusing, so lots of thought has to go into how geography is manipulated to make an understandable and visually pleasing design. The work that goes I to this is copyrightable, and I do think the two maps share a lot of these elements. Yes the independent map was worked on for 300 hours, but adding up all of the changes over the years probably amounts to thousands of hours to generate the original map.
Again I don't necessarily think this is a good use of government funds or time, but I don't believe the copyright claim is compeletely invalid.
I have to pick a nit here. In terms of copyright, effort matters only in a very specific way. Generally, only artifacts matter. The map is a thing. The creator of the map holds copyright.
Copyright is also very specific. It is literally the right to make copies. This becomes important when we talk about things like clean room design for reverse engineering. The wikipedia article gives a good summary: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clean_room_design
Independent invention is a valid defense in copyright claims. If you can show that two similar artifacts, e.g. a piece of bootloader code or a map, derive from independent work, then there is no violation of copyright, because no copy has been made.
The effort matters only insofar as its independence.
This stands in contrast to a patent which specifically protects an idea and its application.
No. Reportedly, he created his map in 2009, while the MTA published theirs in 2011.
Patent is about means and ends. Process applied to achieve outcome. Patents must be approved by some authority.
Trademark is "recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others" (from wikipedia ). A trademark may optionally be registered, but need not be (the difference between (tm) and (r)). Registered trademarks are governed by some authority in a given jurisdiction.
Copyrights and patents can expire. The property right need not be exercised to be maintained.
Trademarks can be maintained in perpetuity, but must be exercised, or else they may be lost.
Facts cannot have any copyright. Nor ideas. Only the creative expression of these can have copyright.
Ideas + specific process and application may receive a patent.
A clean room design for a map would include only geographic facts, but no creative representation of these. Similarly a clean room design of a piece of software would include only requirements, but no implementation details. A clean room design is not necessary to prove lack of copyright infringement. It is a strong defense against an accusation.
Derivative works are typically protected under copyright law. For a derivative work to not be an infringement of copyright, it must be itself a substantial creative effort. You'll notice that creativity is a significant part of copyright.
The application of creativity to create a new work means that there is a new creator with a new copyright. Definitionally, a derivative work is not copyright infringement. Failing to prove (in the face of an infringement claim) that something is a new, derivative work means that copyright infringement has occurred.
Characters may be subject to both copyright and trademark protections. For example, Mickey Mouse is trademarked by Disney.
There are several legal tests applied to characters when it comes to copyright. Simply, the character themselves must be important in the copyrighted work and be a creative element themselves. "Extras" cannot be protected by copyright - i.e. a villager with a pitchfork is not protected by copyright. A character who happens to be a villager, with distinctive characteristics that delineate them from other individuals and make them recognizable, and around whom the story revolves (and perhaps in the story, this person carries a pitchfork) may be protected by copyright.
I cannot put Harry Potter or his significant likeness into a new work. I cannot publish a 7-part series following the exploits of "chosen one" Gary Rotter in the school of Pigpimples School of Magic and Sorcery as he fights against the rise of "He Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken", and so on.
The name "Harry Potter" is likely trademarked. Assuming it is not, I certainly can tell a story about an old man named Harry Potter if my story is significantly different than J.K. Rowling's series.
This sort of thing is why satirical works are typically not copyright infringement.
Decompiling a program would be a copyright infringement, because there is no creativity there. It is a rote reproduction, specifically the thing that copyright says you cannot do.
Maybe you missed this line from the article:
> But there is a potentially critical flaw in that logic. The MTA created The Weekender in 2011, two years after Berman created his map, which he uploaded to Wikipedia in 2009.
Also his work is actually older than MTA's.
Intellectual property laws in the U.S. are broken, plain and simple. I hope this case leads to reform of these broken laws.
Is that designating express service? Seems very counter-intuitive to me to illustrate it that way.
And by the way, for his legal case, if there was anything to point to the argument of derivative work, this would be it. It's clearly copying (because it's so confusing) the broken line segments style in the map you just linked.
For example, here it is on a philly trolley map: https://www.septa.org/maps/trolley/city.html
And you can also see the same sort of thing on this BART map: https://www.bart.gov/system-map
(Sure sure, it's a corporation, but its owners are ultimately the taxpayers.)
Lester Freundlich - the name literally meaning 'Friendly' in German - having to be the ~bad guy~ in this context, going after a private person selling some map online..