[going OT] Re: [Phpwm] Re: Postcode Database (Chris Allen)

Phil Beynon phil at infolinkelectronics.co.uk
Mon Apr 30 10:43:15 BST 2007

> > Probably for the same reason as you don't design sites for 
> free, its called capitalism!
> > They've got it, you haven't, so if you want it then you have to pay.
> > At one stage BT actually tried to make telephone numbers 
> copyrighted information, in that if you published your number or 
> had it printed anywhere, like on business stationary, you should 
> pay them royalties.
> >
> > I would imagine at some stage someone like Google will make it 
> free by collecting enough data from people putting postcodes and 
> locations into their mapping systems to effectively make it 
> public domain information.
> >
> > Phil
> >   
> Fair point about capitalism, Phil: I'm all for free markets etc.. What I 
> object to is that I've already paid once for the data to be gathered and 
> processed (e.g. in the case of mapping data, O/S); why should I be 
> paying again? They have got it, but they've effectively stolen it from 
> us in the first place. Which is why Keith is right, and we should be 
> supporting petitions (like the ones he mentions) to make "our" data 
> free; I think the Guardian currently has a campaign going (correct me if 
> I'm wrong) to make all data gathered using public money free for public 
> use, which has produced several interesting articles and made 
> some progress.
> Elliot

The problem is that when it stops paying its way they loose interest in doing it properly, and you end up with a situation like in Canada where most of the available maps are 27 years old and fairly low resolution - that was on a like off the Guardian website entry about this, which I have read.

One of the main issues with data like this is deciding who should pay, and how much. I agree wholeheartedly that for a small start up who really needs this data to get an idea off the ground - that quite probably gets sod all support from their bank - the cost is onerous. But on the other hand where you get it used on a big corporate, say online insurance companies, website who are raking it in, why should they get it for free? They aren't going to pass any discount onto anyone because of that.

Unfortunately all the possible flavours of govt see just about any opportunity of selling something that isn't theirs in the first place - as a potential revenue maker, and since they all do this there isn't really a lot of sway caused by dissention to get any real change to happen. 
This isn't anything really new, a good example is the way the radio spectrum allocations have been handled over the years - and if you think that doesn't affect you - why do you think mobile phones are such a rip off here, where they auctioned off spectrum to the highest bidders then told them they still had to share it, whereas in Finland they gave it away for free - seeing mass communication as the way forward in encouraging growth in the country.
Another good example is the way CB radio legalisation was handled in the UK - it was a complete shambles.


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