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Plagarism on MP?


Original Post
Rob King · · New Brunswick, NJ · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 165

I've always wondered why mountain project isn't updated with route descriptions from guidebooks when new ones come out or a new area is found. Are there any legal protections on guide books that prevent people from finding out about a new route or area in a new guide and immediately posting it to MP or is it more about not posting it so the creator of the guide can have more people buy their guide and reward them for putting in the effort? 

Take Thacher State Park in NY: it just opened for climbing and there is an app out for a guide but the area isn't even listed on MP. Is there a reason no one has taken the route info from the guide and uploaded it to MP?

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

Pretty sure it violates copyright law, besides being unethical.

Rob King · · New Brunswick, NJ · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 165

I can see it being unethical and I totally think the people establishing the climbs should be rewarded for their hard work. I guess what I'm really asking is: Are the names and grades of routes actually protected by copyright? And how is there any data at all on MP if this is the case?

And to be clear I only mention Thacher because I was thinking of going and someone mentioned that some of it will probably be up on MP soon and I thought that wasn't really fair to the authors of the guide

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Rob King wrote:

I can see it being unethical and I totally think the people establishing the climbs should be rewarded for their hard work. I guess what I'm really asking is: Are the names and grades of routes protected by copyright? And how is there any data at all on MP if this is the case?

I am not a lawyer, but...I think using the route description, verbatim, would violate the copyright law. Taking a route name and grade seems pretty harmless.

Stagg54 Taggart · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 10
FrankPS wrote:

I am not a lawyer, but...I think using the route description, verbatim, would violate the copyright law. Taking a route name and grade seems pretty harmless.

I would generally agree. But what about a generic description like "Left-most crack on the wall"  of "The left-facing corner 10 ft rt of route x"...   If that type of stuff is copyrighted, then how do you even describe where the route is without violating copyright law?

Micah Klesick · · Vancouver, WA · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 3,964

So legally, you can take a Name, Grade, FA and use that somewhere. That's factual info, and not copyrighted. You cannot use anything written in a guide beyond that, whether it's topo's, photos, descriptions, etc. 

The reason we don't want people just putting that info in MP is that MP exists to go beyond the guidebook, meaning we want people to submit firsthand info from their personal experience in order to include relevant info outside of the guide book, not necessarily to function as a guidebook. So submitting names and grades and no other info from personal experience defeats the purpose that MP is trying to achieve. Sometimes at certain Crags you can use MP as a guidebook because people have taken the time to add all the routes they've climbed into it and thus filled out the information needed to find your way around effectively. 

If you posted an area in my administrative area with no info other than names, grades and a location, I'd email you back and request that you add personal descriptions, beta such as bolt counts/gear sizes, approaches, photos if possible etc. If you weren't able to do that, then we'd have to have a really good reason to not delete that info until someone could come along and add useful info. Does that make sense? 

Nate Doyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 10

I'm curious, how does attribution work in these cases? 

Patrick Rose · · St. Louis, MO · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 65
  • There was a lengthy thread on this same topic awhile back.  Facts such as names, grades, FA, etc cannot be copywrited.  You cannot however lift verbatim descriptions, pictures, etc that is the unique work of the guidebook author.
Dylan Colon · · Eugene, OR · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 340

I think the unwritten guideline to not post routes you haven't done is a nice way of avoiding this problem. In that case, sure you need to get the name and FA from a guidebook or something similar, but everything else is a description from someone who actually knows what they're talking about, which seems to be kind of the point here. 

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175

climbing friend,

"go beyond the guidebook" it is meaning "harvest the book data but avoid inevitable lawsuit?" It really harsh on your mellow when sitting to "work" at your "computer" after smoking the phat one, and you are handed summons and complaint, ha ho!

ViperScale . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 235

If you copy exactly how the guide book list it probably. The name of the routes exist long before the guide books are created so there is no way they can say anything about using the name of the route. I know multi areas I have climbed and knew most of the routes / names before the guide book came out so there is no way they can take any claim on that.

Interesting though that some of the guide books I have seen come out end up using a different name than that most climbers called the original problems.

Matt Himmelstein · · Orange, California · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 125

If your area is not on MP, put it up there.  I added a route that was not on the site but it was something I climbed based on a guidebook.  I used the guidebook name and other information, but didn't post images from the guidebook.  This is a free site.  Sure, REI gets eyeballs, but they are not going to spend money updating routes and adding areas.  That is what the unpaid masses (you know, us users) are for.

Jon Frisby · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 100

I am a corporate, not IP lawyer, so grain of salt, not legal advice etc. I think this falls under the fair use exception as it's educational and not for profit. But "don't be a dick" still applies

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 653

If you copy word for word out of a guidebook, you are a dick.  Guidebook authors are not making much (if any) money off of their work - support them when you can.  

Mike Womack · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 1,545

I once copied a route description from the book into MP.  The description was, "sharp, but fun." After climbing it, I agreed perfectly and couldn't think of any better words.

But on a serious note:  Any more than that is unethical and the author's hard work goes unappreciated. 

Mark Dalen · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 935

It's all in the attribution ... guidebook excerpts are scattered throughout MP, usually quite short & for extra beta ... you just want to credit the source & keep it brief ...

JFM · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 1,818

But can't we just scan in pages from the guidebook and post them on here? It would make things so easy....

Nate Doyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 10
JFM wrote:

But can't we just scan in pages from the guidebook and post them on here? It would make things so easy....

Wow, you're hardcore! Scanning is too much work. Better to take a picture with your phone and upload that.

Nate Doyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 10
bruno-cx wrote:

I'm waiting for the day that highly localized guide books using the MP data are available for purchase at REI.  

Time to review the TOS

https://www.adventureprojects.net/terms

Our Right to Use Your Content

We may use Your Content in a number of different ways, including copying it, publicly performing or displaying it, reformatting it, modifying it, translating it, incorporating it into advertisements and other works, creating derivative works from it, promoting it, distributing it, and allowing others (including entities that control, are controlled by, or in common control with, Adventure Projects Inc. ) to do the same in connection with their own or other third party websites, mobile applications and other media or formats, whether now known or hereafter developed (“Other Media“). As such, you hereby irrevocably grant us world-wide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicensable, transferable rights to use Your Content for any purpose. You also irrevocably grant the users of the Service and Other Media the right to access Your Content in connection with their use of the Service. Finally, you irrevocably waive, and cause to be waived, against the Company and its users, any claims and assertions of moral rights or attribution with respect to Your Content.

When "Your Content" really means "Our Content."

ViperScale . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 235
Nate Doyle wrote:

Wow, you're hardcore! Scanning is too much work. Better to take a picture with your phone and upload that.

Than they can take the photos you upload and pull out all the text for you so you don't have to type it in and generate the routes!

Nate Doyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 10
ViperScale wrote:

Than they can take the photos you upload and pull out all the text for you so you don't have to type it in and generate the routes!

OCR for the win!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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