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I had a race director ask me earlier this week if he could use an already certified course for his event. I told him he could as the course is on public streets. But he may want to contact the other director and let him know what was going on. Then I started thinking should I have suggested that he offer some compensation to the other director since they incurred the expense of having the course measured and certified. Just wondering if anyone has come across this and what their thoughts are.
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I have this come up every couple of years. Since the queries have always come via email, I respond via email, and CC the person who hired me to measure the course. The gist of my message to the person asking is:

"Yes, courses on public property are available for anyone to use. However, [name the entity or event] took the time to design the course, meet with the proper entities to have the course approved for their event, and paid me to measure the course for USATF certification.

Due to the effort and money they expended for this course, if you intend to use [course ID] for your event, I strongly suggest you contact the event (they are copied on this email), and find out where you can send 25% of the fee they paid for my services. That fee was [fee amount]. While this does not reimburse for their time, it does offset their direct expense for certification of the course you are interested in using."

I always receive a thank-you from the event that paid me to measure their course.
Good question, Bob. I would like to know, too.

We publish our courses online and we invite anyone to use them with no requirement for licensing or compensation. I was under the impression that USATF certified courses are in the public domain, by design. Am I wrong about this?

Duane, I like the way you handle such inquiries. It's good form and respectful of your client. But, there is nothing to stop anyone from using "someone else's" course, right? I know that some races have downloaded maps from our database and then graphically re-branded them for their own race.

Is there an official policy on this? If not, is there a consensus?
Yes the courses are available for everyone to use.

But I think it is highly unethical to "rebrand" someone else's map. If someone did that with one of my maps without my permission I would "ask" them to remove it from their website. They are free to use certification maps however they like, but they are not free to modify them.

This is why we need to make sure all certification maps have the USATF logo. It is difficult for USATF to stop someone from replacing the race name at the top of a map, but the USATF CAN stop them from using the USATF logo on a modified map.
"I always receive a thank-you from the event that paid me to measure their course."

This was supposed to indicate that the event using a previously-certified course has paid the "donation" that I suggested. I have never had anyone complain to me that they did not get paid, after I send the email outlined above.

I name all of my courses that don't start or stop on private property, by some geographic reference, if possible. I did just do one, though, that eludes a good geographic reference. It starts a block from where it finishes, and uses multiple streets. Could not come up with a good geographic reference, so I did use the event name for the course.
It normally is pretty simple to convince them of the geographic name. If they have a sponsor name in their event name, I let them know that I will charge them to change the name if they get another sponsor.

I now can point to the naming rights for Mile High Stadium in Denver - it started as "Invesco Field" when it was built, then changed to "Sports Authority Field". Sports Authority has filed for liquidation bankruptcy, so the name will likely change, again.
I don't have an issue with the certifier putting a geographic location, or an event name, or whatever at the top of a certification map.

I do have an issue with race directors, or anyone other than a certifier, modifying an existing certification map. We should be aggressive about preventing that. If someone does it and includes the USATF logo we should tell them they have to remove it. I would guess that we can also force them to remove any reference to a USATF certification number.
In my humble opinion, if we have a policy of not wanting our posted maps to be re-branded, we should say so in the upper right corner where we state "Note: image is higher resolution than appears on screen." Maybe something like "this USATF certification map may not be modified in any way without the express written consent of USATF".
All, take a look at the search engine for maps. I Had USATF place the following statement: "Maps may not be manipulated or modified from this site!"

We have had some in the past take a map and place their information on the map. USATF and I have notified those individuals and they adjusted the map to it's original state.
I always recommend the RD wanting to use the previously certified route contact the original RD as a courtesy. The original RD paid for the course and they may be using it as a fundraiser. If they run races on the same course, they run the risk of both races suffering. Most courses are on public roads so they are free to use the course. However, they are not free to alter maps at their convenience.

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