Mapmaker Fined for Infringing Sherlock’s Copyright

A Calgary mapmaker has been fined C$8,000 for making a cheap knock-off of a competitor’s city atlas. The judge ruled that Commodore Allen’s AMI Calgary Street Atlas infringed the copyright of Sherlock Publishing’s atlas of Calgary, saying that the differences between the two were “purely cosmetic.” Via Cartography.

I’ve been a fan of Sherlock’s maps for years. Their first product was a super-detailed coil-bound atlas of Winnipeg that came out when I was still living there. It knocked the city’s collective socks off. It had detail that no other map of the city had at the time: intersections with traffic lights were marked, as were street numbers at key intersections and virtually every public building. (The detail was analagous to, for example, that of Michelin’s Plan de Paris.) It very quickly became the standard map of the city; it’s now been through ten editions (my favourite in terms of map design was still the first), and they’ve also done a Calgary map — which is what the judge ruled was ripped off — now in its eighth edition.