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An interesting issue is unfolding in Canada and quite frankly its darned amazing! Imagine this, you have a website and offer some kind of product or service. You also use a map so users can search your product by Postal Code… uhoh, now you get a letter from Canada Post stating that they are suing you!
This coming from the owners of the website geocoder.ca who has been named as a defendant in a an ongoing legal action from Canada Post (aka. The Government of Canada) – personally, I find personally that in these times of hype and smoke blowing about Open Government and OpenData and related matters its downright disgusting! The story unfolds like this – the Government is laying claim to ownership and rights etc… to the term "Postal Code" and since this poor dude at geocoder.ca (owned by Ottawa-based Geolytica who offer geocoding services) has an e-commerce website that serves up a map where users can search a region by Postal Code. In a blog post the "Defendant" added the following comments, "They even extended their claim to other websites I own, namely foodpages.ca, to seize any profits this website makes by having people type various location entities (address, intersection, city, postal code) to find a nearby restaurant. Perhaps in their ideal world, these profits belong to them because of the ‘postal code’ option." He then goes on… "Seeing no end to this madness I am taking the following preemptive action. I am renaming the ‘postal code’ to ‘zip code’ on every website, blog, application or other publication I write." For more on this matter check out the blog post which is humorously titled K2C 1N5. Heck, perhaps its now time for Canada to switch over to the Canadian developed Natural Area Coding System
The timing of this matter likely has something to do with the fact the Canada Post (much like the US Postal system) is loosing loads of cash, so much so that the prediction is tat by 2020 they will be bleeding a billion $$ a year! It seems the agency is now looking at ways to offset the lost revenues so perhaps shutting down legitimate business with rediculous law suits like this is a new priority perhaps. A twitter follower of mine had a great suggestion; why not strap a mobile LiDAR data capture camera or perhaps a 360 degree camera to the postal vehicles while they drive every street in the country. Or, perhaps they could crowd source some street data files or ?? Heck ya! I’m sure there’s plenty of value added ideas here… See more in this story from the CBC.
This case has also been discussed on Eaves.ca a popular resource on OpenData – Canada Post and the War on Open Data, Innovation & Common Sense (continued, sadly)
I had to laugh when a Twitter follower commented to me that perhaps Australia will follow suit or perhaps get a letter from Canada over their use of the Postal Code!