CIPPIC Acting for Defendant Geolytica in Postal Code Database Copyright Lawsuit

CIPPIC has filed a Statement of Defense on behalf of its client, Geolytica, in response to a lawsuit filed by the Canada Post Corporation in the Federal Court of Canada (File No. T-519-12) claiming that it owns copyright in its database of postal codes and that Geolytica has infringed that copyright by "crowd-sourcing" data for its own database of postal codes mapped to street addresses.

I have been watching this closely as it is linked to the Postal codes by federal ridings file (PCFRF) issue which we have an MP letter for. The electoral district boundary files are already publicly available, and it has been Canada Post's attempt to keep the postal code boundaries proprietary that has been at the root of this problem. Once the geodata for postal codes are properly publicly released, deriving the PCFRF from the two geodata files will be easy.

This court case has many policy questions within it which I hope people will be asking.

a) Should a government department or crown corporation be allowed to "own" this type of data in the first place. I believe this type of data should not be under copyright at all, and further that we should be abolishing crown copyright.

b) Should this type of data, if it is allowed to be owned at all, not be part of the so-called Open Government initiative?

c) Should a government department or crown corporation be suing people doing a public service such as what GeoCoder.ca?

d) Should Canada Post be broken up into components which are fully publicly owned and those which are private sector, allowing for proper management of the public part and proper competition for the rest?

Media: Toronto Sun: Canada Post sues to keep ownership of postal code list, ITBusiness.ca: Will Canada Post lawsuit against GeoCoder affect your business?, Globe and Mail