Google Maps and Copyright

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I’m loving the new satellite view on Google Maps. I haven’t done anything useful with it yet, but it sure is fun.

I do have a question about it, though. Where I live, Yukon, OK, we’ve seen dozens of new businesses built here in the last few years. Looking at the Google satellite data for Yukon, it’s clear that the images are over a year old, probably more like two years old. You might notice something else about those images: the copyright. How can two-year-old images have a copyright of 2005?

There’s probably a reasonable explanation — I doubt Google is lacking in IP lawyers. If anybody knows how copyright applies in this situation, I’d be interested in hearing about it.