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I measured 2 courses in 2016 and produced the map shown in the image on the left. This weekend I received the map on the right and the measurer acknowledged that he "stole" my map as he was in a time crunch. He measured the courses a week prior to the race as did I in 2016. There is a 10K map that is copied in a similar fashion.

I am having a hard time accepting this. The graphic is one that took me hours to produce and it is being presented by another measurer.

Do any of you have some words of wisdom to share on handling this? Mad

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Wow. I think there is justification for not accepting it.

We often suggest that RDs looking for a measurer look on the USATF website to see the maps measurers have created in the past. Not only has he stolen your work for something he's getting paid to do, he has, whether intentionally or not, used your work to advertise for future work.

I think we should make it clear this is not acceptable without permission, partly because it undermines the process we recommend for choosing a measurer.
Logan and MarK,

I had USATF place a statement on the search engine about this. I have also had to deal with this situation before an was successful in getting the people to replace the copied map with their map. Logan, did you contact the party involved? Did you Contact our Chair?

If you had no success in doing the above, then our chair should contact them and be very direct about what they did is not legal. I also say USATF should be notified by our Chair. However, I have seen them in the past not doing anything. This is wrong on USATF part.

Now, a solution that may help in the future. Our people that do maps should place a statement on the map such as: WHAT IS ON THE USATF SITE".

Logan, please contact our Chair. I will also contact the chair
This Texas measurer clearly sampled a previously published course map – he needs to pay a royalty to the Rodeo Run event organizers. I am of the opinion that the map belongs to the public to view, but its use and ownership belongs exclusively to the event organizers, which the map is named for. Our maps become the property of the event organizers.

Similarly, when an event uses a previously certified course, they must first seek permission for the group who had the course originally certified. If the new event wants to advertise the course as USATF Certified, they can request a new measurement certificate and map be filed in their event’s name.

Curious if this Houston, Texas course map dilemma is for the same Rodeo Run event which it was originally named?
Logan, I think we all feel like Rodney Dangerfield sometimes, and most folks don't appreciate the hours of effort we've put into things--but this takes the cake, doesn't it. Seems reasonable that the map should be clearly identified as your work.

Is it really the same course? If so, why do they need another map? If the person really did remeasure it and it's different, they could be listed as measurer but still give you credit for the map.
That measurer has no scruples! You are not required to accept the map, based on the published procedure for measurers.

1) He did not create the map for the route that he measured. He stole your copyrighted work, as you have your signature on it, and the map has an event logo, both of which constitute ownership of the "work".

2) The map lacks the measurer's name, when it was measured, etc (unless you removed it for posting).

Therefore, in addition to stealing your work, the measurer has not completed the requirements for submitting a course for certification. Bounce it, and let the measurer know they must follow the process. Also, let him know he stole your copyrighted work, and needs to never do anything like that again, regardless of who created the original map.
I require my clients to sign a service agreement that outlines the scope of work, but also assigns the "intellectual property" (the map) over to them. My ownership is relinquished to the client b/c they paid for the product. I feel your pain, but I believe it's theirs to do with as they choose. However, if they did not grant to the other measurer permission to use your map and he "bootlegged" it, you might want to make them aware of this and register your displeasure.
This situation is similar to the one where one race uses another's certified course. Once the courses are listed they become public.
It is very poor form for a measurer to take another measurer's map and use it for certification.
Question: If the original map hadn't been one the Certifier produced would this be an issue? Probably not.
Another question: Is this course different from last year's race?
I am not confident that refusing to certify the course is the best action. It appears the certifier is biased because he has time and effort in the original map. Understandably the measure is upset.
It might be best to let the measurer know this not appropriate and won't be acceptable in the future.
Where is the victim in this scenario? The original measurer was paid for his work. Refusing to accept a map because the measurer cut and altered an existing map seems a bit extreme. Could this lead to refusing maps cut from any number of map programs?
There is definitely a victim. The guy is selling someone else's work for money. This isn't much different from making bootleg copies of music or movies and selling them. Just because the music or movie has already made money for the original artist doesn't mean it's okay to steal it and sell it yourself. Of course Logan is upset. Someone else is selling his work.

"Could this lead to refusing maps cut from any number of map programs?"
Believe it nor not, if Google told us to remove any maps that included cuts and pastes of google maps, we would have a big problem.
Wow! That is a beautiful map, Logan!
I admit I have not often thought much about this issue, but its important.

I'm astounded and troubled by the comments from Kevin and Jim. When we create a map and certify a course I presume that we are granting the race license to use our work but in no way do they take ownership of it. That is the nature of the copyright law.

If someone wants to use Logan's excellent art work they must deal with Logan, not the race. It they want to use the race course, then they may talk to the race. We put the course in the public domain, not the intellectual property.

We need to be clear on that.
This has been resolved on my end. As the certifier for TX having to sign off on this AND the creator of the original map it put me in a weird spot, thats for sure. I gave the measurer 2 options: draw your own maps and resubmit or pay to use the map.

My view on the 2nd option: From time to time I hire a graphic artist to assist me with maps. I pay them a rate based on their time. The graphic artist takes my template, screenshots, photos, notes etc, then draws ~ 75% of the map, then I polish it up with the measurement details and "tech specs" before I submit it. I don't see anything wrong with that as I am paying the artist for their work and I put my name on it as a representation of the measurement done. Option 2 of the is the same situation with the other measurer, except that it was submitted before any agreement to such an arrangement was made.

End result - we worked out an agreement where the time saved by the measurer by using the maps was compensated to the original artist. All is well.
I don't like one race taking the course of another race, but let's be honest:

We are beyond the days when races were club events run by a team of volunteers. Now they are commercial enterprises run by race management companies. All the subcontractors, from marketing to timing get paid.

As such people should have a contract. Much like software, you can do work for hire, in which case the rights belong to the person who hired you, or you can sell a service, when the rights to the work commissioned may or may not be retained depending on your contact.

What you create is copyrighted, BUT to be a USATF certified course it must be publicly published.

You got paid for creating a race map, for someones event. End of transaction.

A race expects to be able to use that same course year after year, and republish course map in their offerings, without paying you an annual licensing fee. That to me looks like work for hire, they own the ongoing use.

Now if they want to change the course a bit one year they might be wise to return to the orignal measure, but it seems to me that they are quite within their right to use someone else, and to have their map of their race updated.

When a car company commissions an advertisement the result is normally their property. While the artists, trades and craftsmen who were hired to create the content take pride in their work, the copyright of the resulting work is owned by the auto company that commissioned the work. The craftsmen and artists who worked on the advertisement don't retain copyright, and don't run off to the competitor to say, we already got that done, let me put your logo and name on it.

In this regard, measure get a free pass, because it is not uncommon for someone to ask for a course you have already done, or ask for a race in the same park. Do you recreate the park map from scratch, making sure not to infringe on the copyright of the prior map or any other map of the park? - Or do you just say, I got that park map already done, let me just add the marked points and race name?

Should we be encouraging the reuse of courses by a number of events? After all, if the city has a police plan, and the park has worked through the details, it saves everyone time and money.

What happens if a second race runs the same course? This is common in cities with lots of races and few good racing venues. Do a bunch of different measures go out and lay down lots of overlapping courses. That's the last thing the running community needs.

I am in the sub-tropics. Races start before or soon after dawn, so we have to find marks in the dark, and don't need a bunch of conflicting markings.

There is a park near me with an obvious location favored by the park for your tents, an obvious start line, and about ten mile 1 pins and painted marks, at one mile down the course. None in agreement, and that is just the first mile.

I encourage people to look at the website and pick an existing course if it works. It saves them the cost of measurement, and prevents overlapping/overlayed courses.

To that end any course I have measured is named after the location, and sometimes direction. (Birch Park 5K, Anticlockwise). That means any event can reuse the course and course map.

However if ones a good bit of ones income comes from measuring courses one might be inclined to suggest every race have it's own certified course, and name them after the event name. Even if that results in a number of same, or similar courses on top of each other. Personally I think that is bad form.

Measures get a wide latitude to reuse the same course, and basic course map, for the next event that comes to town. Maybe because even if you can copyright the map the actual course is now in the public domain.
Can you reuse part of a map for that park that was commissioned and paid for by someone else? Who is violating copyright then?

As to copyright: If you have not registered your work with the copyright office your damages are a maximum of the copiers profit. Profit calculated after cost.

AND you have to pay to register your work before you can bring an action in federal court, AND you would have to prove you did not sell the rights to the race, AND you pay your own lawyers fees.
So unless you are going to register each work with the copyright office, you are really not going to get a nickle, so there is no point in taking umbrage.

Moreover there are a number of things you can't copyright: Fashion, Dance, Ideas, Methods, or Systems, for a start. You an copyright a map, but maybe not the facts in the distances.

When a map displays the fact that a road runs North South, that fact can't be copyrighted either.

You probably don't want to go to court arguing that a basic cert sketchmap contains significant unique "originality" and is not just a rearrangement of basic elements, and not derived from the cartography borrowed from somewhere else.

While you can copywright a map there is much that goes into making a map, like proper surveying.
Legally, in most cases, it is not a "map" without a north point, a scale, and and a reasonable attempt to mark objects position according to the scale and repetitive bearings.

Did you really go measure the compass baring of that street to determine it ran NE/SW or did you appropriate that information from google maps?

What we do are, in most cases, equivalent to engendering sketches, over which it is difficult assert originality, and to sue. Similar to architectural drawings of basic objects.

Should a derivative course map give the orignal draftsman credit? On that I agree.

We should encourage measures who do derivative courses and drawings to contact the orignal draftsman and measure if known, and at least ask permission: Which, in our sport, which requires sportsmanship on and off the course, should be freely given. Both credit and permission should be given when appropriate.

We should:

(A) Stop naming courses after the event, and name for the location and distance.

(B) Encourage new events to just re-use the existing courses.

(C) Remember we are doing works for hire. (Just like the people who time the races.)

(D) Understand that the race who hired us to do a job. They can continue to use that course for the next ten years, every weekend in the year if they want, and they don't owe us another nickle.

(E) The course is pubic. Anyone else who wants to run that distance can, on their own one windy night or as part of an organized event.

(F) Acknowledge we are technicians, not artists. We are paid for exact measurements. These are engineering sketches/drawings, not really orignal art, no matter how proud we are of them.

Acknowledge the real genius is not in measurement. That is purely procedural.

The genius is in designing a course. Making the perfect course that really works for the start and finish, is fun to run, easy to manage or divert the traffic, is safe, cost effective and has all the elements from nearby parking to bathrooms. That's where the art is.

If anyone should get credit for "creative work", it is the course designer. Cool
... not gonna lose any sleep over this question, but

I'm perplexed that anyone would think it wise to explicitly grant "ownership" of the intellectual property, i.e., the map, to the race event. I don't think the race needs or wants that. Further, I don't think we have the right to do that.

Our function in this activity is to provide a properly measured and certified course. The map is merely a means of communicating how to properly setup the certified course. It is not the product (unless you make it such).

Remember the mantra: "We certify COURSES not RACES!"

The race is not in a position to support the map, follow up, update or modify. Only the measurer is. We really want the measurer to maintain his/her interest in the map. I understand that we implicitly grant the race the right to use our map to help communicate their course, but they don't "own" it.

We put the course is in the public domain, not the map. Normally, nobody, not event the race event, has license to plagiarize it for other purposes.
I agree, we certify courses, not races.

So we should name a course by location, distance and maybe year, rather than event name, which can change over time. Also more than one event can use the same course.

For example "A1A marathon 2017" or "Snider Park 5K clockwise".

There is no need to re-certify just because the event changed name or sponsor, or a second event comes along and uses the same course. Keeping event names out of the certification would help clarify this to all.

I agree that we publicly publish the certification. However I don't agree that the person who measured the course automatically always owns a copyright.

As a general rule, architectural and engendering drawings of basic things are not copywrightable, no matter how tidy the drawing. Not unless there is something "uniquely orignal" in the conception of a spacial aspect or design of the building. Sketches of as-built don't count.

Second, you can't deny that you don't wonder round the countryside randomly measuring courses in the hope of being able to sell one at a future date. You don't go out to measure unless hired to do so. Therefore I feel reasonably comfortable any court would consider this "work for hire". This would mean any copyright, if there is one, would be owned by the person who hired. Before getting on a high horse about ownership, do some research into "work for hire" cases.

Yes, we SHOULD give credit where credit is due. This is just polite in a sport where the rules require sportsmanship on and off the course.

If a race has to change a course I previously certified, they might e wise to come back to me, but don't have to.
They can get a new person to re-measure, and if my start or finish location is still part of the course, re-use that part of the map.

Some courses get re-worked frequently, because of construction, new plans for traffic diversion, or new police man in charge of city permit. Each map is a derivative of the prior one. It might be re-drawn from scratch, it might be just a minor alteration. The work is in the re-measurement. The map is just a sketch for people to identify the course and find the nails, nothing more.

I understand the pride we have in a good map. However lets not get too pompous or fake-legal.

If the race went to someone else for the next edition of the same course, that's the choice of the RD. Maybe we were not available, or were to expensive, or two difficult to deal with. For what ever reason the new RD chose not to return to us. At that point it is out of our control. Let it go.

However the race maps copied above begs the question, why re-certify the already certificated course? It had not expired.

Maybe the old measure is at fault for not explaining the course was good for 10 years.

The new measure SHOULD have said, this course is already certified, unless there is a problem just reuse the course. A new event using the same course does not need to have it remeasured, unless the prior expired.

Both these measures need to contact the event(s) and tell them they don't need to keep paying to remeasure the same course.

It is dishonest to accept payment for work that does not need to be done. That's like a car mechanic charging for changing your air filter, when it is obvious the air filter was changed last week and does not need replacing.

Now if there was a change in the course, that is a different matter. But that is not the case with the maps that started this thread.

Laying out courses on top of existing courses, without good reason, just leads to multiple marks that are closely grouped. This leads to confusion on race day as to if they are looking at last years mark or this years mark. It would be interesting to see if the application for certification stated the new course was to replace the old one.

More concerning for me is the habit of some race management companies, who try to steal the thunder of an existing event by:

(a) Running a similar event on the same or similar course two weeks prior.

(b) Running an identically named race up against an existing race. For example a competing "Jingle Bell Jog", when they could have named their race "Santa Stroll" or "Christmas sprint".

Running, which was once an amateur sport, has turned into a professional cutthroat business for the companies servicing this growing industry. We are just vendors.

We take pride in our work, but we don't own their event or the course. Having produced a work for hire, we probably don't have, or did not retain, any personal copyright enforceable in a court.
Before we move on, let's clarify some facts.

(1) Maps are explicitly mentioned as copyright protected works by the US copyright office under US Code Title 17. Visit DeLorme, Rand McNally, or Google Earth and you will see that these map authors will vigorously defend their copyright. Generally, Fair Use of the facts presented in those maps is permitted, but outright plagiarism is not.

What is important to keep in mind here (and James is correct in this regard) is that facts, ideas, and concepts can not be copyrighted.

But it is well established that the original expression of facts, ideas, and or concepts is what the copyright law is intended to protect. A Logan Burgess map, for example, is very much an original expression of the course as he envisions it. Hence, it is very much subject to copyright protection.

(2) When, in the course of our employment, we create a map, book, or patent, ownership of that work is assumed to be held by the employer (James is correct about that). However, We are not talking about an employee-employer relationship in most cases. Usually the measurer is not an employee of any race event. He is an independent contractor. Ownership of the intellectual property created by an independent contractor remains with the independent contractor unless explicitly forfeited.

I definitely view my maps as originals and to some extent, works of art. I believe that I as the Measurer and by extension my map am the final authority on the correct course. Beyond the route line and mile notations, I include careful details that communicate this information along the overall map and within the inset maps. These details are specifically selected by me for the purpose I intended them for and would possibly not be pointed out by another Measurer. For this reason I consider my maps to be originals.
That being said, I assume no ownership in practice and would only exercise my right of propriety in an event such as this. I also include a statement on my maps that "This Official Course Map may not be altered"
As Chair, I had USATF place a statement on the search engine page for courses.

Note, on the search engine the following is stated about the maps being used. One other note, a MEASURER should place a statement about using their maps.

Course number:
Course name:
Advanced Criteria

Course status:
Course type:
Drop: m/km
Separation: %
Year of certification:
Measurer's last name:


Maps may not be manipulated or modified from this site!

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