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RakeInTheCache

$250,000 lawsuit against Groundspeak?

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I was wondering if anyone has any independent knowledge of this topic. This is a recent exchange I had with brwhiz who was unhappy that I modified his waymark to include additional detail about it. Is this guy for real?

 

brwhiz says,

The issue with copyright law was not that you didn't include the sources for the material that you used to alter my waymark, it was that you altered the content of my waymark without my knowledge or permission. The Groundspeak Terms of Use Agreement states that material submitted remains the Intellectual Property of the waymarker and that only Groundspeak is allowed to alter it. Some Category Officers have been altering my waymarks because I refuse to give in to the petty tyranny when they demand something that is not in the submission requirements. They have continued the practice even after being notified that it is prohibited by law. Those Category Officers are being named in a $250,000 lawsuit. Since this also places Groundspeak in a position of liability for allowing their actions, I believe that Groundspeak will ban them from the web site, again per the provisions of the Terms of Use Agreement. So please don't alter the content of my waymarks as a "favor" to me. With respect to the amount of information to present in a waymark: I understand your viewpoint but feel that the probability of people visiting a site is inversely proportional to the amount of information presented. One group of waymarkers, who contribute very little to the hobby, just want to sit at home and travel vicariously via Waymarking. I don't want to pander to those individuals. Another group, usually very active in Waymarking, will visit each and every waymark that they encounter, no matter how much or how little information you provide. We live for the physical experience. It is the third group that I address in my concerns. As an instructor in the past, I have found that the more a person discovers on their own, the more they learn. If you give a student everything, they will retain it long enough to take a test and then it is largely forgotten. The trick is to present enough to challenge them to use their initiative to learn more. It is a complex balancing act. In my latest submission I have presented an overview of the geology of the Uinta Basin. I then present a minimum amount of information signifying its place in the overall geology. This is the approach I intend to use if I submit the other 20+ entries to the Category. In terms of differentiating geologic from non-geologic sites, the sign pictured for each site does an excellent job all by itself. The Period is given on each sign. The geological formation is named, and a terse descriptor says what was happening at the time the sediments were laid down or what evidence of life was found in the rocks. So I feel that not much more is required to substantiate the fact that it is geological in nature. I don't want to give the impression that I am lazy and just want to minimize the effort I expend. On the contrary, I have a definite love for geology and discovered a lot about the Uinta Basin and its underlying geology as I traveled the highways through northeast Utah. They have done an excellent job of documenting the geologic formations so that you learn something even if you just go speeding past. It is a classroom "on the go" and I want to stimulate as many people to at least have a desire to visit the area, even if it is too far a trip. If they can't visit in person then perhaps they will seek additional information regarding what I am Waymarking. Bryan (brwhiz)

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It always surprises me when people feel they can read other peoples thoughts, and can state anothers motives for doing anything.

 

I always imagined the people who view our waymarks not to be other waymarkers living vicariously through the waymarks of others, but researchers using the website as a source of information. I feel that anything that improves the quality of a waymark improves the value and usefulness of the site in general.

 

As an officer, I would not think twice about tweaking a waymark for spelling, grammar, or something minor.

 

As an officer, I spend a great amount of my limited time to volunteer to approve waymarks, and if I felt I was at risk by a specific waymarker for any reason I would refrain from approving their waymarks. I appreciate being made aware that I am at risk of being sued for my volunteer work.

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I was wondering if anyone has any independent knowledge of this topic. This is a recent exchange I had with brwhiz who was unhappy that I modified his waymark to include additional detail about it. Is this guy for real?

 

I modified one of his waymarks when I accepted it and removed the tilde in the title replacing it with a dash as our category description exemplifies. The next day it was changed back to a tilde. I changed it a second time and again he changed it back.

 

If you read his profile, he pretty much admits to having a bad case of OCD. He has his own way of doing things and doesn't care much what the existing Waymarking community thinks of his style. He's out to change Waymarking to be done his way.

 

Perhaps, he hopes to eliminate opposing thought by getting others "thrown out". Then it'll just be his way!

 

He sent me a long tirade once and I suggested that he bring his ideas to the forums to see what others thought of them. He obviously never did that. I pointed him to specific threads in the forum that disagreed with his "style" of Waymarking. He's never posted here and may never have read anything here.

 

He's a freight train speeding down the track and you better not get in his way apparently. I'm waiting for a train wreck.

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If you think that is weird, then decline one of his submissions and see what's happening then!

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The Waymarking interface invites people update the waymark when they visit, by pointing out missing variables.

 

In addition the Edit function is a a part of the process. The Category officers may edit without permission, and anyone can suggest an edit that is approved by an officer.

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I was thinking about updating the category description with a "Terms and Conditions" to include a warning that waymarks can be modified by officers and that a submission to this category indicates acceptance of the terms.

 

But maybe this is going too far, especially as it appears others have had run ins with this gentleman.

 

He has submitted a long list of waymarks now which I am currently allowing to "rest" in the queue while I ponder what to do.

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Groundspeak's legal team is aware of the situation.

 

This might be interesting:

 

"TERMS OF USE AGREEMENT

...

2. Use of Our Services

...

F. Suspension and Termination.

 

We may suspend or terminate your access to our services, including your account, at any time for any reason without notice and without liability. As an example, we may suspend or terminate your account if ... not being a good member of the ... community. ..."

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In regards to the waymarks posted by this member, he has posted many in the dog friendly hotel category, all of them are the same word for word, with only the address changed. I suggested that unique information be presented, but did not hear back. What do you all think about approving cookie cutter waymarks. They do meet the category requirements but the long description is minimal and again the same for every hotel.

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Groundspeak's legal team is aware of the situation.

 

This might be interesting:

 

"TERMS OF USE AGREEMENT

...

2. Use of Our Services

...

F. Suspension and Termination.

 

We may suspend or terminate your access to our services, including your account, at any time for any reason without notice and without liability. As an example, we may suspend or terminate your account if ... not being a good member of the ... community. ..."

+1

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Some people take pride in their work and will conduct topic specific research to enhance the quality of their waymarks and as a courtesy to those who seek pet friendly accommodations through Waymarking. As someone has pointed out, however, how many people will bring up the Waymarking website to find such accommodations? It would go faster just to google the name of a city followed by "pet friendly accommodations.” While we would perhaps like Waymarking to be an encyclopedic fountain of knowledge, it has its roots in geocaching and is basically a game, the only difference being that we “discover” rather than “find” things.

 

In so far as all the waymarks having the same information, the creator of this category did not ask for very specific details. The instructions are as follows:

 

This category is dedicated to Dog-Friendly places to stay.

 

Expanded Description:

 

Waymarks for this category should include any hotels that allow dogs.

Instructions for Posting a Dog Friendly Hotels waymark:

Please only list places that invite our furry friends (places where you have been successful sneaking in a pet are not allowed).

 

That's it. In my view, this waymarker is following the instructions. He is not required to add the hotel's pet friendly policy. But by posting a link to the hotel in question, as this waymarker did, the person reading the waymark page will be able to read the policy or phone the hotel. If the category owner wishes to have this information provided on the waymark page, it is up to him/her to update his/her category and add required fields.

 

Background information, other than what is required in the instructions to post a waymark, is a nice gesture, but not necessary. So, unless someone totally disregards the instructions to post a waymark, the waymark should be approved. If the instructions are not followed as per the mandatory requirements, officers will be on solid grounds to deny the waymark. If you deny a waymark solely because it doesn't fit with your ideals of how a waymark should read, then be prepared to answer to irate waymarkers. In my view, why engage in a battle that will cause you aggravation and cannot be won.

 

In so far as idiosyncrasies such as capitalizing the title, adding a dash as opposed to a tilde, requiring acronyms at the beginning of titles, why do we even bother with that? Let the waymarker be creative, after all, the name of the category is immediately below the title. Should that not be sufficient to inform visitors as to what the waymark is all about? Many a waymark has been denied because of failure to follow requirements that have no bearing whatsoever on the objectives of Waymarking which are to have people get out of the house, get a bit of exercise, discover interesting locations with the aid of a GPS, and, most importantly, have fun.

Edited by Weathervane

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If you can't play nice or not interested in creating at least the occasional waymark with a bit of effort....go geocaching...that's a hobby where it is about the numbers.

 

In Waymarking I always appreciated reviewing a waymark that makes me want to look at the pictures and read more. A waymark or waymarker that doesn't go to the effort doesn't get much of my time...they are not worth it.

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I was wondering if anyone has any independent knowledge of this topic. This is a recent exchange I had with brwhiz who was unhappy that I modified his waymark to include additional detail about it. Is this guy for real?

I guess I am guilty too. :rolleyes:

- When I get Waymarks that could be expanded, added to or even a photo added I add to it. Sometimes I'll e-mail additional links or information to the Waymarker to include. I have never (except once[recently] had any negative feed-backs)

I don't bother with simple or brain dead Categories but if it comes to historic or informational Waymarks I'll check them more closely for details or accuracy. *Bad spelling, wrong dates, dead links or misinformation do not make for well researched Waymarks but sloppy work and ones I wouldn't sign my name to. (Incognito or not)

Its NOT how many you can post but how accurate they are or how well they are received.

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In regards to the waymarks posted by this member, he has posted many in the dog friendly hotel category, all of them are the same word for word, with only the address changed. I suggested that unique information be presented, but did not hear back. What do you all think about approving cookie cutter waymarks. They do meet the category requirements but the long description is minimal and again the same for every hotel.

 

I wouldn't deny for a minimal waymark. I do encourage more in the approval. The minimal waymarks are like stubs that another might one day add information to. I think it is important for the item to be added to the inventory of the category so there is a place to start from.

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In regards to the waymarks posted by this member, he has posted many in the dog friendly hotel category, all of them are the same word for word, with only the address changed. I suggested that unique information be presented, but did not hear back. What do you all think about approving cookie cutter waymarks. They do meet the category requirements but the long description is minimal and again the same for every hotel.

 

I wouldn't deny for a minimal waymark. I do encourage more in the approval. The minimal waymarks are like stubs that another might one day add information to. I think it is important for the item to be added to the inventory of the category so there is a place to start from.

I wonder...if a category gets additional information requirements and a visitor completes a visit and adds the missing information to a waymark would that violate a waymark creator's rights in creating a waymark. I do suppose that Groundspeak can delete waymarks off of their website and their databases...hmm?

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I was wondering if anyone has any independent knowledge of this topic. This is a recent exchange I had with brwhiz who was unhappy that I modified his waymark to include additional detail about it. Is this guy for real?

 

brwhiz says,

The issue with copyright law was not that you didn't include the sources for the material that you used to alter my waymark, it was that you altered the content of my waymark without my knowledge or permission. The Groundspeak Terms of Use Agreement states that material submitted remains the Intellectual Property of the waymarker and that only Groundspeak is allowed to alter it. Some Category Officers have been altering my waymarks because I refuse to give in to the petty tyranny when they demand something that is not in the submission requirements. They have continued the practice even after being notified that it is prohibited by law. Those Category Officers are being named in a $250,000 lawsuit. Since this also places Groundspeak in a position of liability for allowing their actions, I believe that Groundspeak will ban them from the web site, again per the provisions of the Terms of Use Agreement. So please don't alter the content of my waymarks as a "favor" to me. With respect to the amount of information to present in a waymark: I understand your viewpoint but feel that the probability of people visiting a site is inversely proportional to the amount of information presented. One group of waymarkers, who contribute very little to the hobby, just want to sit at home and travel vicariously via Waymarking. I don't want to pander to those individuals. Another group, usually very active in Waymarking, will visit each and every waymark that they encounter, no matter how much or how little information you provide. We live for the physical experience. It is the third group that I address in my concerns. As an instructor in the past, I have found that the more a person discovers on their own, the more they learn. If you give a student everything, they will retain it long enough to take a test and then it is largely forgotten. The trick is to present enough to challenge them to use their initiative to learn more. It is a complex balancing act. In my latest submission I have presented an overview of the geology of the Uinta Basin. I then present a minimum amount of information signifying its place in the overall geology. This is the approach I intend to use if I submit the other 20+ entries to the Category. In terms of differentiating geologic from non-geologic sites, the sign pictured for each site does an excellent job all by itself. The Period is given on each sign. The geological formation is named, and a terse descriptor says what was happening at the time the sediments were laid down or what evidence of life was found in the rocks. So I feel that not much more is required to substantiate the fact that it is geological in nature. I don't want to give the impression that I am lazy and just want to minimize the effort I expend. On the contrary, I have a definite love for geology and discovered a lot about the Uinta Basin and its underlying geology as I traveled the highways through northeast Utah. They have done an excellent job of documenting the geologic formations so that you learn something even if you just go speeding past. It is a classroom "on the go" and I want to stimulate as many people to at least have a desire to visit the area, even if it is too far a trip. If they can't visit in person then perhaps they will seek additional information regarding what I am Waymarking. Bryan (brwhiz)

 

I have independent knowledge of this topic. It is patently absurd that anyone would claim an intellectual property right in order to prevent reviewers from reviewing their submissions. It is equally odd that anyone would believe they own an enforceable copyright to a waymark's text, even if they created it. If publishing a waymark on a global website is not public domain, then I don't know what is, I guess.

 

Don't let this loony guy bully you by throwing around legal words. I will be happy to defend that case in any court - unless of course, the case has been filed in the 186,000,000th District Court on the Planet Pluto. I am not licensed to practice law on Pluto.

Edited by Benchmark Blasterz

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As this issue has been resolved by Groundspeak, and editing waymarks is allowed under the TOU, I am going to close this thread.

Edited by BruceS

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