Having said that I hope Geocoder gets help with PR. I'm no PR expert but the fact that this post is not on their front page is the first bad sign. And the media, which always loves a David & Goliath story, apparently hasn't covered this; that's another bad sign. Swaying public opinion to your side is the way to win this, not litigation. If Geocoder lets Canada Post drag them to court they've already lost.
As a Canadian I'm one of the owners of Canada Post and I hope I lose.
I could imagine how old and stupid the gov't official is who filed that claim. Canada's a broke country, and the latest government budget has cut a tonne of government jobs, slashed R&D credits, etc.
On what basis do you make that claim?
The only way to make sure the general populace vote = ruling party is to have an American style two party system, and frankly, I've heard very few good things about that. IMO Canada has a decent balance; parties on the fringe either adapt or assimilate, and all parties gravitate to the political centre if they want success. It saves having two powerful parties for long, and prevents the dog breakfest of some countries where there's 15 different names on the ballot.
I offer as counterexamples all the industrialized liberal democracies with various forms of proportional representation, in which the composition of the government actually does reflect the general populace vote. They may not be countries in which a single party forms the government, but there's no reason a single party has to form the government, particularly if no party receives more than 50% support among electors.
I have a lot of respect for the parliamentary system, in which voters elect the House of Commons, the House appoints a Prime Minister, the Prime Minister appoints a Cabinet, the PM and Cabinet are accountable to the House. I appreciate that this system has historically included parties, or formal associations among members of the House of Commons to vote more or less along party lines.
However, the parliamentary system also has a long tradition of coalitions among parties, and even of governments being formed by parties that did not win a majority of seats. The basic unit of legitimacy for a parliamentary government is that the government enjoys the confidence of the House.
I was really frustrated during the 2008-2009 constitutional crisis over the widespread public ignorance over how the parliamentary system works. It's frighteningly clear that most Canadians don't understand their own government, which makes the system a ripe target for abuse. Since the 1970s, Canadian ruling parties have steadily concentrated power more narrowly in the PMO, to the point that Canadians have forgotten that they vote for the House, not for the Government.
As a result, governments have increasingly snubbed their nose at the House of Commons - to the extent that the Harper government actually deployed a handbook for disrupting and marginalizing parliamentary committees and absolutely refused to share budget numbers with MPs, triggering an election over their Contempt of Parliament.
During the constitutional crisis, and following the lead of the Conservative Party, far too many Canadians argued with straight faces that a government appointed by a coalition of parties representing more than half the seats in the House and more than half the votes cast would be somehow anti-democratic, while an appointed government that refused to face a confidence vote - the most fundamental litmus test of legitimacy in a parliamentary system - was somehow upholding democracy.
We can no longer afford a system in which a single party with a minority of votes can enjoy a majority of seats and more-or-less absolute power to pass legislation during its term in control of the government. You write, "all parties gravitate to the political centre if they want success", but the current government is busy passing one-sided ideological legislation - like the omnibus crime bill and the new copyright bill - that most Canadians oppose.
If they held seats proportional to their popular support, they would have to cooperate with another party to achieve majority support in the House and we would see more balanced legislation.
I don't think conservatives are ignorant (any more than anyone else, anyway). I tend not to agree with hard line conservatives about the majority of stuff but I also disagree massively with the hard left wing as well. Both groups are reasonably represented in my family, and I tend not to please any of them. But that is probably more because I can be an extremely sarcastic bastard and talk a lot of utter nonsense at times.
US still has a better standard of living. Canadian housing is getting ridiculous and needs to be controlled. We need cheaper housing. If I were a young person buying a home, I'd rather be buying in California instead of Toronto.
BTW, I'm Canadian.
And also, what talentdeficit said.
edit: Assumed an American is making the comment.
So far there has been absolutely no media attention on this.
I don't know what this government has against the tech industry in this country, but it must be some serious loathing with all the BS coming down the pipes
So they release data to universities and charge everyone else an obscene amount.
This kills a lot of start up ideas.
E.g. http://www.geogratis.ca has a massive amount of freely available data for Canada.
There are some ridiculous bits, though, such as being unable to get the Alberta Township grid, which is a necessity for a lot of property related stuff, without paying.
Step 1: Start at http://geocoder.ca/
Step 2: Click "Free Data" -> http://geocoder.ca/?freedata=1
Step 3: Click "You haven't made it until you get sued" -> http://geocoder.ca/?sued=1
There seems to be no mention of "sued" in the source of the front page.
AFAIK In Canada and the UK a postcode gives you an exact address, or pretty close to (around 10-20 properties to each postcode?). In the USA and Australia, a post code just gives you a 'suburb' (hundreds to thousands of properties to each postcode).
I think it's largely based on how mail is distributed, as they are Canada Post identifiers. My 5000 person hometown has no delivery -- everyone goes to the one post office. But my apartment building has its own little postal box thing, which requires a key from the mailman, which is a special case compared to dropping in mailboxes on the rest of the street.
I don't suppose there's any postal workers on here to chime in?
The first line of the address (often just the house number) and the postcode are sufficient to yield the entire address.
> expressly forbidden to [...] use in any database and/or application for the purposes of providing, updating or maintaining any publicly available postcode look up or finder functionality;
You're not allowed to use the Australian post code database as provided by Australia Post to provide a lookup or finder functionality that's publicly available.
All of that data is approximated by the ABS from whatever body controls the "real" versions, but is 99% good enough for anything you'd want to do with it.
Australia Post, on the other hand, don't really use postcodes to deliver mail anyway, I've been told. They're a vestigal construct which are very prominent in people's minds but so fraught in the implementation that any systems which analyse them (including Australia Post's) work against them rather than with them. I didn't know about Canada's system — that sounds like a much better idea!
It's eight non-contiguous areas as far north as Caboolture and as far south as Casino, the biggest of which are not much larger than Brisbane City Council.
There's a treasure trove in the post code boundaries of utterly bizarre things that only past houses being in weird places can at times explain.
http://maps.google.com.au/?q=act+2611 or this:
They do charge a nominal fee, but the data quality is excellent and they have monthly updates.
I don't know about Canada, but the UK has 'crown copyright', and it's essentially the same as regular copyright, but the copyright is owned by the government. Places without a crown still have governments that have copyright.
There some weird things, The King James Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Peter Pan stories are under perpetual unending copyright. (Well Peter Pan will go public domain when the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital ceases to exist)
If a country that is more capitalist and copyright mad then we are has no issue providing postal data, that our crown corporation has their panties in a twist is a cruel joke. Just adds another reason why I'd never use Canada Post for anything anyways.
Of course, it might not be the case that Canada Post data is under Crown Copyright, since it's a Crown corporation and not a government department. IANAL.
I have made no agreements with Canada Post to distribute my address, the right has only been assumed on my part. It could turn out to be a dangerous liability for all Canadians if it holds up.
The usual suspects in these cases are recipes, Geodata and my personal favourite - Premier League Football fixtures. The latter is in the final stages of a European court challenge that is rightly claiming licensing such a simple set of data for thousands of pounds is absurd: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17218968
There's more info about CIPPIC at http://www.cippic.ca/en
But the CIPPIC is acting as counsel for these guys. They know what they are doing and are the closest I can see.
In some places you can copyright a database of facts. In some places you cannot copyright a database of facts. In some places you need to do some 'creative act' to get copyright, some places use a 'sweat of the brow' rule (i.e. that you have expanded some effort, even if it's not creative). It gets coplicated.
I'm not sure. But I'd imagine that books like the Guinness book of world records is probably under copyright and its' just a collection of facts.
Seems perfectly reasonable to me.
b) giving it away for free would not actually change anything legally. You can still get sued for copyright infringement even if you don't make any money on it.
my cousin works in PR for canada post. i emailed him to get the scoop. will post here when i do.
That said, Canada Post should have tried to talk before litigation as all this does is make a crown organisation look like a bully in front of Canadians and now the world.
I hope I'm write in suggesting that such a phrasing may not the best way of getting support.
Legally it should be a walk for Geocoder, but I wouldn't like to make a wager on it.