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Guest andy58

Google Earth textures?

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I've downloaded photographic scenery for Hong Kong (pvhk11.zip) and in the credits, the author states "All textures are supplied by Google Earth © free version and manipulated according to the user agreements."I understood that the Google Earth textures were copyright and for personal use only. Can anyone confirm this?George

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The geographical information madeavailable for display using the Software is provided under anonexclusive, non-transferable license for printing and use only by you.Any animations, movies, prints or screen outputs generated with theSoftware are for your use only. You shall not copy, reverse engineer, decompile, disassemble, translate,modify or make derivative works of the Software, geographicalinformation, animations, movies, prints or screen outputs in whole or inpart. Further, you shall not rent, disclose, publish, sell, assign,lease, rent, sublicense, market, or transfer the Software, geographicinformation, animations, movies, prints or screen outputs or any partthereof or use it in any manner not expressly authorized by thisAgreement.Further, you do notreceive any, and Google and/or its licensors (if any) retain all,ownership rights in the geographic information displayed using theSoftware. The geographic information is copyrighted and may not becopied, even if modified or merged with other data or software. Your useand access of the geographical information may be subject to furtherlicense requirements or obligations.You will not delete or in any manner alter the copyright,trademark, or other proprietary rights notices of Google and itslicensors, if any, appearing on or in the Software, or animations,movies, screen outputs and prints generated by the Software as deliveredscott s..

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Hmmm, that's what I thought. Perhaps it should be removed from the Avsim library.George

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Ooops, I meant the Flightsim library.George

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Why make such a big deal about it? No offense, but IMHO, it's not really worth stirring the pot. Granted, the "fine print" says you can't use it for your own personal use, but why make such a big deal about it?

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Because the data supplied is actually owned by a company that paid big bucks to collect the data (aerial photography in this case). They own it and by hosting it on google earth are doing people a favour. If you rip google images it would be at least curteous to ask the supplier if it is ok to distribute them for free.There is of course a fine line between ripping images straight or further processing them so they are basically unrecognisable and distributing that for free. You may get away with claiming it as art, but using unmodified google images straight is just wrong. Remember that those companies are doing us a favour, they can easily pull the data if they feel they are being treated unfairly.Christian

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Even if you purchase the images, getting permission to distribute them as scenery is almost impossible. I tried that route, purchasing the AirPhotoUSA images of northern Arizona through GlobeXplorer (who recently bought AirPhotoUSA). I asked both companies about distribution and neither responded. Not wanting to be a test case, I decided not to distribute. The same is true of i-cubed, whose images are used by Yahoo for their maps. They're not interested in even discussing it. It's too bad, because there is a lot of good photography done by both. I'm sticking to the public domain (USGS etc) stuff.

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I'm going to play Devil's Advocate for a few minutes. I knew that this would happen one day (GE in scenery), and I've been thinking about it a bit.To start with, not everything in copyright law is black and white - what I'm getting at is that there is a "Fair use" clause under US copyright law. I'm not saying that it applies here, but I'm saying it _might_ apply here. Just because Google says something in their documentation doesn't necessarily make it so.I'm not going to paste a bunch of stuff here, but I'll refer you to the Wikipedia entry:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_useSo, I'm thinking that since the scenery is non-commercial, may stimulate creativity for the enrichment of the general public, represents only a small part of the data available from Google Earth as a whole, and does not diminish the value of Google's work, maybe this would qualify as Fair Use. This would be applying the four-factor balancing test as described in the article.The classic (and better) example is the use of quotations from a copyrighted book for the purpose of a book review in a (copyrighted) newspaper.Ok, now I'll switch back over to the other side...I'm pretty sure that neither Avsim or Flightsim.com have the patience or the resources to go to court and defend something like this, and I imagine the simpler solution would be to remove the file.Anyway, read the article, and tell me what you think. If you don't think that Fair Use would apply, tell me why - educate me.- Martin

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>I'm pretty sure that neither Avsim or Flightsim.com have the>patience or the resources to go to court and defend something>like this, and I imagine the simpler solution would be to>remove the file.This, I think is the main problem. I agree that there is probably over-assertion of copyright as against fair use. After all, copyright isn't really a right, it is a "power" granted Congress to secure for limited times, the exclusive right to writings, but only for the progress of useful arts. Unfortunately, media companies try to create the impression that almost any use, infringing or not, is "theft" or "piracy". IMHO an infringing use is just that -- an infringement, not "theft" not "piracy". I'm also not too big a fan of WIPO.But, I can see that folks who are just trying to create and maintain a flight sim community aren't really in a position to fight this kind of battle.scott s..

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It seems to me you are looking for a needle in haystack, and one that might boomerang and make a big hole in you.I would let it lie if I were you, and would not mention it again.I think by the way that Google would not mind, it is "fair use" as our friend says.

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Hi all,um, nick46, I assume that your somewhat cryptic post isn't meant to sound as much of a threat as it does, correct?I'd say that this discussion is quite important and that our use of images hosted by Google or similar sites isn't a black and white issue. Unfortunately, it is generally not wise to make assumptions what is permissible or "fair use" and what isn't. In the case of Google Earth images the persons to ask for permission are not the Google managers, BTW, as they don't own the imagery and other data they host. The copyright is with the company or government department that originally generated the data in question. Google's statement as quoted above is primarily meant to recognise that entity's copyright. In the end it's up to the individual designer to decide what risk he/she is willing to take. However, I would agree with the point made that it is not fair towards the owners of the sites that we ask to host our files to put their good will at risk.Cheers, Holger

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Hi all.This is an interesting topic.Would it be an infringement of copyright to take a newspaper, fold it up, and sell some fish and chips at a fair, using the newspaper as a wrapper?I don't think so.My point is about usage. Were the images used to create a competing product ( another newspaper, or news source... freeware or commercial ), then we would have infringement. But using the paper as a food wrapper infringes on nothing in the news business.And I don't think the use of screenshots from Google Earth in a freeware flightsim scenery is an infringment. In this case, I think we are wrapping the fish and chips.And should the images be used as a tracing template for vector based scenery... or a background for designing landclass... then we are even further removed from the source of any infringement.A post came up in another forum about converting Ultimate Terrain vector scenery to CFS2 and distributing it as freeware. BAD idea. Now we are comparing "newspapers" to "newspapers". Taking someone else's scenery and making our own. Better to encourage the buying of Ultimate Terrain, and showing others how to convert it for their own use... or encouraging the UT people to make a CFS2 version available.In the past, I've taken Microsoft FS scenery and recycled it to Microsoft CFS2 scenery. By doing this, I bet that MS would not be offended, as the sims' rights are both owned by MS, and they themselves encourage scenery design and experimentation. They even have some CFS2 objects available in FS2002, as I recall. My actions did not impair the sale of either product, and may have actually contributed to further sales. As Holger states, this is still about risk. Infringement isn't a criminal activity, but a civil issue. This would be the realm of litigation, and Google has deep pockets. I remember some cases of Disney going to ridiculous extremes to "protect" their intellectual property. Nothing prevents Google from doing the same, if they desire. And AVSIM doesn't need that kind of problem.Dick

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Well spoken, Dick. And practical too. A lot of what we have in FS now is because of experimentation and freeware development with the "help" of non-FS source data and imagery.With all due respect for our cherished FS hosting sites, some practical guidelines for what can/should be hosted vs likelihood of a for-profit business entity legally going after a free download entity and running the risk of a massive public PR and sales boycott backlash is still in order, and I think your post goes a long way towards exploration of a very timely and necessary topic!GaryGB

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So pirating software is OK because:a) it's covered by "fair use":( the copyright owner can't/won't take any effective action?I must remember that argument the next time some complains in these forums that his product's been pirated. Or does that argument only apply to Google/Microsoft and other big companies?

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Hi mgh.I think you've totally missed the point. Fair use defines parameters to protect against pirating, but allows non-competetive usage.I don't think anyone has stated pirating is OK, except you.As far as ownership of software copyright goes, this is the point: An owner can choose not to exercise the right. I wouldn't if it were in my better interest not to exercise the right. That's just common sense.It makes sense for Levi Strauss to sue for J C Penny making jeans obviously copied from their pattern ( this really happened ). It doesn't make sense to sue Aunt Polly that hand-makes similar jeans for her many nephews. Nor does it make sense to sue a country singer that refers to "Levis" in a popular song.... that actually promotes their product. Levi Strauss could sue, but they have chosen not to do so. Are Aunt Polly or the counrty singer pirates? No. Is J C Penny a pirate? No.A pirate would sell copies of the jeans advertised as original Levis. And the buyer would either be duped into believing the profits go to Levi Strauss, or become an accomplice to the masquarade.In this regard, does using a Google image make someone a pirate? No. That would involve creating a website service masquarading as Google Maps, for the purpose of stealing their profit.What is involved is exactly copyright and fair use... not piracy. Piracy is a different issue that what is being discussed.Dick

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Hi all.Concerning the use of Google Earth images, here's a quote from their website:Can I post images to the web? We're flattered to hear that you're further incorporating Google Earth into your online world. You can personally use an image from the application (for example on your website, on a blog or in a word document) as long as you preserve the copyrights and attributions including the Google logo attribution. However, you cannot sell these to others, provide them as part of a service, or use them in a commercial product such as a book or TV show without first getting a rights clearance from Google.If you require these commercial rights, please visit the 'contact us' link and submit your request through the 'Other problem' link. In your email, please provide details about why this information is needed and how it will be used. So as long as copyright, attributions, and the logo itself are present, and nothing is sold or used as part of a commercial product, the usage is approved by Google. Which I believe is exactly what the freeware author that inspired this post has done.And what Google approves is pretty much what Fair Usage would indicate.Dick

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It is an infringement of copyright to use copyright material without the copyright owner's permission, whether or not the copyright owner choese to enforce his rights, subject to any fair dealing exemptions. Pirates use copyright material without the copyright owner's permission, which the the basis of their offence. Nowhere did I support piracy (I am opposed to it), rather I was pointing out that there is no difference in principle between a pirate and anyone else who uses copyright material without permission. Both are equally in breach of copyright law.Further, can someone tell me what is the definition of Fair Dealing in the USA, because based on comments here, it seems to be very wide ranging?In the UK (and by extension the EU) a "single copy of copyright material, for research for a non-commercial purpose, or for private study, may be made by an individual researcher or student under the provisions for fair dealing."http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/library/aboutthelibrary/regulations/copyright/legislationThe restriction to a single copy precludes uploading a further copy to a website.The Google conditions would seem to prevent its images being made available to others by third parties without a rights clearance."You can personally use an image from the application (for example on your website, on a blog or in a word document) as long as you preserve the copyrights and attributions including the Google logo attribution. However, you cannot sell these to others, provide them as part of a service, or use them in a commercial product such as a book or TV show without first getting a rights clearance from Google."

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For all who are interested we have looked into this issue extensively and even if you want to pay the outrageous prices for the images outright, before even getting into distribution issues (freeware or payware), it is so confusing as to who actually owns the images it is not even funny. It would be impossible to even give the proper credits. Most of these companies have merged or whatever and use sub contractors to obtain the images or they have bought them thensleves from another source then re-sell them.Your best bet is to use the image as an underlay then paint a custom texture on top of it then jerk the image out of the final product.Fair use is a hard one to use because alot of the images have also come from actual aerial photogrpahy missions by private companies therefore some of them would be actually copyrighted legally.I think we are still a few years away and a few more satellite passes away before we can even get good enough images to use for ground textures in a manner that will show up good enough for FS use. I know of only 2 other developers that have nailed this down good enough to provide good ground work for FS and some other developers that have used good images and still can't get the ground just right. It's the hardest part of scenery creation and the longest. It still comes down to custom painting of textures to get it really right. scenerydesign.org could provide some insight for anyone interested.

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>It is an infringement of copyright to use copyright material>without the copyright owner's permission, whether or not the>copyright owner choese to enforce his rights, subject to any>fair dealing exemptions. ... except under the fair use exclusion.>Pirates use copyright material without the copyright owner's>permission, which the the basis of their offence. Nowhere did>I support piracy (I am opposed to it), rather I was pointing>out that there is no difference in principle between a pirate>and anyone else who uses copyright material without>permission. Both are equally in breach of copyright law.You were the one who first brought up the issue of piracy. This has nothing to do with that. Most of us would consider software piracy to be "creating a copy and selling it", or "creating a copy and giving it away". Software piracy is certainly a breach of copyright law (as you say), but that does not mean that all breaches of copyright law are incidents of piracy.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_piracy>Further, can someone tell me what is the definition of Fair>Dealing in the USA, because based on comments here, it seems>to be very wide ranging?I think this was covered quite explicitly in the link I posted above.>In the UK (and by extension the EU) a "single copy of>copyright material, for research for a non-commercial purpose,>or for private study, may be made by an individual researcher>or student under the provisions for fair dealing."The laws of the UK and other countries may indeed be different than those of the USA. I only considered the US laws since Google (and most website hosts) are located in the USA, and thus would naturally be covered by those laws.>The Google conditions would seem to prevent its images being>made available to others by third parties without a rights>clearance.Again, it wouldn't matter what Google's conditions are if it is covered by Fair Use. I strongly recommend everyone read the link I had posted above, as it describes the criteria set out that allows the use of copyrighted materials under the Fair Use exclusion. I'm not suggesting that it is unrestricted or that it allows us to endlessly pirate software, as MGH (if that is his real name...) did.My points were:- it is not a commercial work (the scenery, that is),- it uses only a small portion of the copyrighted material, and- it does not diminish the value of Google's product in any way.It seemed to me that this would probably meet the criteria for Fair Use under the legislation. Here's the link again, for those who can't be bothered to scroll up a few pages.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use- Martin

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"The practical effect of this law and the court decisions following it is that it is usually possible to quote from a copyrighted work in order to criticize or comment upon it, teach students about it, and possibly for other uses."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use Does "possibly for other uses" cover uploading a number of images for downloading by others? That certainly wouldn't be covered by "criticize or comment upon it."Each individual image is copyright so it is fallacious to argue that a few images are only a small portion of the copyrighted material. On that basis it would be acceptable to use images from a photographic library by arguing that individual images are only a small part.It could diminish the value of Google's rights. Suppose, for example, it intended to licence use with Flight Simulator to Microsoft. The amount Microsoft would be prepared to pay would depend on the exlusivity of the rights.Finally, would you care to explain your remark "as MGH (if that is his real name...)"?

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>"The practical effect of this law and the court decisions>following it is that it is usually possible to quote from a>copyrighted work in order to criticize or comment upon it,>teach students about it, and possibly for other uses."The "practical effect" does not equate to "the only valid reason". Please read the entire article and note the numerous other examples. Also, just because you decide to narrowly define "Fair Use" doesn't mean that is the only acceptable definition. I think the 4-factored balancing test gives a better indication of where the work stands. I'm still not saying that the scenery is definitely covered this way, but I think it may be a posibility.>Does "possibly for other uses" cover uploading a number of>images for downloading by others? That certainly wouldn't be>covered by "criticize or comment upon it."Again, it doesn't have to be restricted to the "criticizing or comment" part of your definition. However, "uploading a number of images for downloading by others" might be covered by fair use, depending on the circumstances. You have to keep in mind that this isn't a black and white issue, like you seem to think. The Barbie example in the article is one example where the courts reversed themselves, and there isn't a single answer to every situation about whether the use of images (in your example) would be allowed or not. >Each individual image is copyright so it is fallacious to>argue that a few images are only a small portion of the>copyrighted material. On that basis it would be acceptable to>use images from a photographic library by arguing that>individual images are only a small part.I'm not saying it isn't copyrighted. I'm saying copyrighted material may be used sometimes if they meet the criteria for Fair Use.>It could diminish the value of Google's rights. Suppose, for>example, it intended to licence use with Flight Simulator to>Microsoft. The amount Microsoft would be prepared to pay would>depend on the exlusivity of the rights.You're right. It "could" mean a lot of things. I'm sure that if Google believed this then they might take an issue with it and then the onus would be upon the scenery author to prove otherwise. But it is not for you to decide this on Google's behalf, nor should we be afraid to use copyrighted material where it is apporpriate to do so just because it "could" diminish Google's rights in an otherwise hypothetical situation. Since I don't know of any agreement between MS and Google like you described, then Google hasn't lost anything. >Finally, would you care to explain your remark "as MGH (if>that is his real name...)"?I "could" but I won't, just because I choose not to. Maybe later.- Martin

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">Finally, would you care to explain your remark "as MGH (if>that is his real name...)"?I "could" but I won't, just because I choose not to. Maybe later."Could you indeed?I can't be bothered with people who make personally offensive remarks and then won't even attempt to justify them.End of discussion.

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>">Finally, would you care to explain your remark "as MGH (if>>that is his real name...)"?>>I "could" but I won't, just because I choose not to. Maybe>later.">>Could you indeed?>>I can't be bothered with people who make personally offensive>remarks and then won't even attempt to justify them.>>End of discussion.Ok.- Martin

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Well, to all of you who have read this thread, you now know why lawyers are so plentiful (and rich):-)

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Unfortunately the case isn't that easy.The data providers spend thousands of bucks to aquire the images they then sell on to recover costs. And we are at a turning point (at least I believe so) where fs add-on developers are willing to invest into aerial imagery to produce commercial add-ons. Back to the UT example, this scenery is based on commercial navigation data. So, would it be ok to rip the street data of navigation software and repackage it in FS, when one company paid for the same data to produce FS add-ons?To modify your newspaper example: would it be ok if the same fish & chips would be wrapped in a complete current issue of FSPilot? (mind you, not that I would want to read a copy smelling of fish :) )...Anyway, I don't want to raise the moral finger, just making people aware of what they are doing and draw their own conclusions of what they are comfortable with. I guess I'm seeing the whole issue through the eyes of someone who actually works in the geospatial business...Cheers,Christian

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