Saturday, October 17, 2009

Legal action against free postcode lookup

I only discovered the Ernest Maples website today. Ernest Maples was the man who introduced the UK postcode system. The website was providing a useful service that took a UK postcode and returned the latitude and longitude of that postcode, which seems kind of familiar… But they’ve recently received a threatening legal letter from the Royal Mail’s lawyers telling them to remove this service from their site.

This raises so many questions. When will I get my threatening letter? When will Google get their threatening letter, since they provide this exact same feature but through a JavaScript API rather than via a URL? Why is the publically owned Royal Mail charging for this data anyway, since it was taxpayer money that paid for its creation in the first place?

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