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Buxley New Caches Not Being Updated ?

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It's right here. You probably read it before you downloaded a LOC file for the first time.

 

(WARNING: Clicking the link may mean that you agree with the license - it says "Thank you! You have agreed to the license agreement." at the top of the page, but I'm not sure if that's because I've clicked an "I agree"-button earlier or because I just loaded the page)

Edited by larsl

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It's right here. You probably read it before you downloaded a LOC file for the first time.

Thanks for the link. The race account from where the watchelist eMails coming to my procmail-script has not agreed to that ... so I think I can live with it as I don't do any harm and use only the position in a map and the guid etc to link back to gc.com. But I'm getting OT now...

 

Greetings,

Tobias

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FYI Here are both the agreements. you will find this portion

Licensee shall not reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the Groundspeak-compatible data format(s) in an attempt to duplicate the proprietary and copyright-protected Groundspeak data model(s) and/or export format(s)
in the Waypoint agreement.

 

Waypoint License agreement

 

Terms Of Use agreement

Edited by CO Admin

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Does that mean that all programs that can write GPX format files with Groundspeak extensions are in violation of that agreement? E.g. gpsbabel, GSAK?

BTW since both GPX and LOC are XML files, there is nothing to "reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble" about them. They are cleartext. The only way not to understand their structure is not to look at them. Besides, Groundspeak itself has made the format public by making it available at http://www.Groundspeak.com/cache/1/0/cache.xsd. Reading GPX files is allowed, right? Now if one can read GPX files, one can write them, too. No "reverse engineering, decompiling or disassembling" is required. So this part of the agreement doesn't make any sense.

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Does that mean that all programs that can write GPX format files with Groundspeak extensions are in violation of that agreement?

I'm not a lawyer, and I didn't write the agreement, so I can't speak directly to specific wording.

 

Groundspeak considers the Groundspeak GPX namespace free for anyone to use. Anyone is free to read and write GPX files containing the Groundspeak namespace in any manner they choose.

 

However, keep in mind that the data contained in the GPX files, including the data contained in the Groundspeak namespace elements, is subject to both the Terms of Use Agreement and the Waypoint License Agreement.

 

:o Elias

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Playing Devil's advocate here, but what you are saying that even Navicache, or any site not even in existence today, is free to distribute cache data that originates from their site using the Groundspeak GPX namespace?

 

"Anyone" as in even competing sites? That "anyone?"

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Elias,

 

I can truly understand the need to keep a watch over where the data goes in a licensing situation. Once the data "enters the wild" it leaves the grasp and control of Groundspeak a far as your perspective is concerned. What if I were to get disheartened by the game and go on a rogue crusade to tear down geocachers with all of their data in hand? What if I were to freely distribute the database to someone else? How can Groundspeak protect the data when it is out of their hands? These are very valid issues for Groundspeak to consider.

 

If this were the business world, we'd probably agree that some form of licensing would be beneficial for the whole, and I'd put my lawyers in touch with your lawyers to work out the legal specifics on how to iron out the details to make it work while protecting both of our interests. Unfortunately, as is the case with most of us here "giving back to the sport", we are not doing this to make money and we actually take a significant loss (both financially, and in our time) for the benefit of others playing the game. Individual third parties don't have the resources to call upon lawyers to work out the needed details, so we are left to work under whatever premise the Groundspeak folks (including your lawyer) decide upon. While those decisions truly do represent the best interests of Groundspeak from a legal perspective, they don't necessarily represent what is best for the players of the game all of the time. Granted the end users get the benefit of data protection... I wil grant you that one point.

 

The cost is that the sport is growing beyond what Groundspeak can or even desires to provide and there are third parties coming to the table willing to expand the game under the pretence of a valid licensing arrangement. I'm sure there is some way that the data protection issues can be worked out while still enabling such agreements. I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know what those are, but I'm going to hazard a guess that it would involve:

 

A) Third party agreement on the terms of where the data goes and what it is used for (in my case, aggregate statistical data and the 'ol hides/finds lists... though I wouldn't mind negotiating some enhanced PQ options for my end as well [that one could be tougher to agree upon]; in "Buxley's" case, it would be mapping functionality and aggregate statistical data)

B) A huge disclaimer specific authorizing third party use of user data (the user accepts that they are extending data protection outside the control of Groundspeak) on the Geocaching.com site (specifically the user profile) that would be enabled by an agreement checkbox. The checkbox could be a general "catch all", or could be more specific requiring authorization of specific sites.

C) Licensees must be held accountable for their actions

 

Could the whole "damage to the sport" thing happen though? I suppose it still could. How would you quantify those damages in court... probably not easily, nor would it really matter to the sport as a whole. I honestly don't have an answer for the problem other than to say that the end users would have agreed to that possibility when they checked the box.

 

Maybe the licensing contract could stipulate the terms of what happens if the contract is broken? Although the damage could still happen, it would be far less likely if stringent and enforceable (essentially punitive) terms were in the contract as a deterant against malicious data use. The only scary part I could see with that is the whole "what if hackers hit my site" dilemma.... I'd essentially be liable for the "security lapse" and would have to file a lawsuit against the hackers to recover damages from the Groundspeak lawsuit... assuming I could ever find them. I would definitely want some sort of exclusion for proof of reasonable security measures in those cases to protect the third party service providers. Clarifying exactly what constitutes a violation to the licensing terms is key to this (and is the hard part). It would have to be very clearly defined in the contract... none of the "don't ask, don't tell" stuff, and certainly not any of the "this contract could change at our discretion" stuff. I'd also say that part of the approval process would need to involve Groundspeak going over my own end user agreements with a fine tooth comb and approving them prior to granting the license.

 

Once the legalities are worked out, I'm sure the technical side would fall into place rather rapidly, thus I've refreained from discussing the technical side (tokens, queries, etc.).

 

As for those with GPX software issues, I think Groundspeak should seriously consider offering a more clear and legally defined license to those software vendors. The catch all legal wording of the WLA does do it's job very well in protecting the proprietary format, but it doesn't leave any room for developers writing GPX utilities (nor should it- those issues should be handled with specific agreements with the third party software vendors). From my perspective, this isn't rocket science... companies license use of data formats every day.

 

Thanks Elias facilitating a discussion on this matter. It is really appreciated.

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Elias, thanks for the clarification. However, even though I'm not a lawyer myself, it would seem to me that if what you are saying is correct then the wording of the agreement is misleading because it says that the data model and the file format itself is copyright-protected and must not be duplicated. But if what you are saying is correct then other, independent cache listing sites can provide the same GPX format files with the Groundspeak extensions, and that is great because all the software that handles GPX files can be used with the listings retrieved from those sites. (Not just Navicache, I'm thinking about the Hungarian cache listing site at www.geocaching.hu, which has its own, independently created database of Hungarian geocaches.)

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Playing Devil's advocate here, but what you are saying that even Navicache, or any site not even in existence today, is free to distribute cache data that originates from their site using the Groundspeak GPX namespace?

 

"Anyone" as in even competing sites? That "anyone?"

Ok, you got me. That doesn't make sense. Its a fair question that requires clarification. Allow me some time to formulate a response.

 

:o Elias

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Playing Devil's advocate here, but what you are saying that even Navicache, or any site not even in existence today, is free to distribute cache data that originates from their site using the Groundspeak GPX namespace?

 

"Anyone" as in even competing sites?  That "anyone?"

Ok, you got me. That doesn't make sense. Its a fair question that requires clarification. Allow me some time to formulate a response.

 

:o Elias

I can understand if you said "no" to sites like Navicache using the namespace, but what about regional groups or individuals? ...understanding it could only be used for data originating from that group or individual.

 

BTW, thanks so much for this dialog.

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If this were the business world, we'd probably agree that some form of licensing would be beneficial for the whole, and I'd put my lawyers in touch with your lawyers to work out the legal specifics on how to iron out the details to make it work while protecting both of our interests.  <SNIP>  Individual third parties don't have the resources to call upon lawyers to work out the needed details, so we are left to work under whatever premise the Groundspeak folks (including your lawyer) decide upon.  While those decisions truly do represent the best interests of Groundspeak from a legal perspective, they don't necessarily represent what is best for the players of the game all of the time.

The inability for an individual or zero revenue org to afford a lawyer to work out an agreement isn't the issue. It isn't about lawyers and agreements. No agreement, no matter how solid, can protect the sport from one who wishes to cause damage. Using your own example, suppose we had an agreement. Suppose for whatever reason you decide to publish all the data somewhere. It gets indexed and cached by hundreds of search engines, and files containing all the data get posted on people's personal home pages so they can share it with their friends. So Groundspeak sues you on the grounds that you breached the agreement, and we win and take your money. But no amount of money can undo the damage. So while we won, the geocaching community (including Groundspeak) lost.

 

The fastest way to have Geocaching banned from parks is to allow this to happen. All the work geocachers and geocaching organizations have put in to lobbying and educating land owners gets lost the second a land owner finds out that they can no longer remove a cache listing. They're not going to care about the "few" who don't know to check Geocaching.com for the most up to date listings. All they're going to care about is the environmental damage caused by people still looking for a cache in their park that they removed months ago.

 

The cost is that the sport is growing beyond what Groundspeak can or even desires to provide and there are third parties coming to the table willing to expand the game under the pretence of a valid licensing arrangement.  I'm sure there is some way that the data protection issues can be worked out while still enabling such agreements.  I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know what those are...

Neither do I. But you are correct. Using the stats example illustrates your point well. Stats are not something that Groundspeak wants to publish; we don't feel its in the best interests of the sport and we don't think its appropriate for Geocaching. But that's just our opinion, and because of that, you probably won't ever see stats on Geocaching.com. But clearly others feel differently. Its inevitable that we need to allow third-party sites access to some of the data so they can provide services (like stats) that Groundspeak chooses not to. Its not Groundspeak's intent to prevent others from extending the sport.

 

As for those with GPX software issues, I think Groundspeak should seriously consider offering a more clear and legally defined license to those software vendors.  The catch all legal wording of the WLA does do it's job very well in protecting the proprietary format, but it doesn't leave any room for developers writing GPX utilities (nor should it- those issues should be handled with specific agreements with the third party software vendors).  From my perspective, this isn't rocket science... companies license use of data formats every day.

Again, I think you're right on. I'm not sure what the answer is right now, but clearly some sort of clarification is needed. I'll see what we can do to address this.

 

:o Elias

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Thanx for offering to clarify things, Elias.

 

I'd gladly sit in on a discussion of a way for "value added" services to have reasonable access to our data that didn't taunt the business or technical problems. At the risk of taunting the "don't ask/don't tell" rule, for example, it's not clear if even something as simple as http://www.mtgc.org/rest/ would run afoul of the redistribution rules if it were to be compiled from a PQ.

 

That aside, as a software developer and user, I do have a couple of specific concerns with the current licenses.

 

In TOU, section 5 is just plain hyperactive. A Mozilla tab set to poll the newest caches once a day is a "automated means to access the Site". Surely this isn't what you're intending to prohibit.

 

The WLA thing about "1 copy of the original data" would technically preclude users from making sensible backups of their computer. This probably isn't the real intent. I don't expect The Man to come busting through my door and start roaming my DAT collection, but this is kind of silly; you can probably drop that section and your concerns adequately covered by the next two.

 

In WLA, the section "· Licensee shall not reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the Groundspeak-compatible data format(s) in an attempt to duplicate the proprietary and copyright-protected Groundspeak data model(s) and/or export format(s). " is probably boilerplate text. Exactly what data model and/or formats are you claiming here? Decompilation, disassembly, and reverse engineering apply more to software than to things like PQs and .locs if that's what you're asserting. A techie and a legal type need to be locked in room to figure out what this section really means and what it really needs to mean.

 

"Licensee shall not remarket, resell, and/or redistribute the Data or any derived portion(s) of the Data in its digital form to unlicensed third parties." This would preclude sites like the rest stop or "greatest hits" listings from being compiled from PQs and put on the web, without acquiring a relicense, right? (This pretty much hammers most regional club sites, too...)

 

 

Thanx for offering to help clarify these things.

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it's not clear if even something as simple as http://www.mtgc.org/rest/  would run afoul of the redistribution rules if it were to be compiled from a PQ.

I think as long as the net output of that page is nothing more than links that point back to geocaching.com, it wouldn't matter how the page is generated. Manually, by PQs or by ESP. The net result would be the same.

 

I think the point of the agreements is that you can't redistribute the data in the PQs, and links back to geocaching.com don't redistribute anything.

 

Of course this is just my interpretation.

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Speaking of clarity...

 

Buxley started his little Waypoint in spring 2001, way before maps were a gleam in Groundspeak's eye. Way before the Corporation or Terms of Use or any of that stuff.

 

And as many pointed out it is a very useful site. He does maps and he does them well. He only needs the barest subset of the data, not even much content at all to create this service. He is in no way a Geocache Hosting Service but more like a portal. He uses data from any and all geocaching web services, puts a little dot on a screen, and shows its name. Then when you click on a dot you go to the HOSTING website and get the rest of the content. In no way does he supplant that original service, but he does enhance it quite considerably.

 

In the years that the Geocaching.com website has been around they haven't been able to match the mapping capabilities at Buxley's and perhaps they shouldn't try.

 

Perhaps Groundspeak should focus on the things they do best. Making forms for submitting, searching and logging caches. They also have a great community hub in their forums. Why are they spending the time and your money to ban others from its use. Why are they trying to reinvent the wheel and provide functionality that isn't needed because it is already out there. Why aren't they trying to get more funds by *Licencing* their data to people who can do great things with it?

 

Just a thought....

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I really do appreciate the fact that TPTB have opened a dialog on this. I do have a bunch of questions on this topic but I will hold them until some of the bigger points are settled. Only then would some of my questions really have to be asked depending on how the bigger picture works out.

 

I understand everyone's concern about allowing folks to license the data and how that runs the risk of that data being misused. Ok that is fine, I think that most would agree that nobody involved in this discussion wants to see the data misused. Maybe not, it could happen but I don't think anybody is suggesting that it is anybody's current intent to do that.

 

I guess the point I am missing is why that is such a great concern now with trying to come up with a way to have some other kind of licensing scheme. Let's be honest it is already something that could be happening. And it could be done with PQs or with scraping. I know that limits the amount and speed at which one could do it but it does not make it impossible. Prior to letting my membership lapse I had a pretty full and up to date database of gc.com caches that was developed using PQs. Of course at any time I could have sent that data out into the wild, but that was never my intention. And I also understood it to be against the terms of use of the PQs.

 

I guess I just don't understand why there is this concern now. And lets suppose gc.com was talking about attaching a dollar amount to allow for that licensing. I really have no idea what the range would be that they are thinking but lets say just a round number of $300 (again I have no idea what kind of money is being thought of here, I am just making a point). In all honesty I would spend that kind of money to get in the game. But I could also use that to pay for 10 premium memberships. This would give me 50 PQs I could run everyday which opens up the ability to get up to 25,000 caches a day. So we can see that if somebody really wants to get the data and they have the intent to send it out there for anybody to use that possibility already exists today.

 

Really don’t take these comments as me being the usual smart-a**. If I am missing a point here I would really like to know.

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So we can see that if somebody really wants to get the data and they have the intent to send it out there for anybody to use that possibility already exists today.

 

That is a valid point. I wonder if there are persons that are already doing this....

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That is a valid point. I wonder if there are persons that are already doing this....

 

If it was soley using thier own hides, than would it even be an issue(yes, i know)

but really, If I as a cacher want to provide MY hides to the "public" then how grey is that area?

(NO, i am NOT doing this, it is just a question)

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The inability for an individual or zero revenue org to afford a lawyer to work out an agreement isn't the issue. It isn't about lawyers and agreements. No agreement, no matter how solid, can protect the sport from one who wishes to cause damage.

 

This is one point on which I respectfully disagree. This is all about risk management (after all, that is why Groundspeak has a lawyer and these agreements in the first place). That risk could be damages to Groundspeak's intellectual property, or that risk could be to the game as a whole. Either way, it's all about risk management.

 

Using your own example, suppose we had an agreement. Suppose for whatever reason you decide to publish all the data somewhere. It gets indexed and cached by hundreds of search engines, and files containing all the data get posted on people's personal home pages so they can share it with their friends. So Groundspeak sues you on the grounds that you breached the agreement, and we win and take your money. But no amount of money can undo the damage. So while we won, the geocaching community (including Groundspeak) lost.

 

I see your point, but the handling of that point is where our differences begin. The possible flaw in the logic that I see (and I'm trying my best not to get too philisophical here) is this:

 

If geocaching.com chooses to mitigate the risk to the sport as a whole by negotiating contracts (with penalties) for access to the data, then someone would have to take leave of their senses to violate that agreement and suffer the legal repurcussions, not to mention the backlash by all of the geocachers around the world. Yes the sport was damaged, but that is a risk.

 

If geocaching.com chooses to mitigate the risk to the sport by not negotiating license contracts, it actually puts Groundspeak in a worse position by my opinion. Hypothetical here, what if I walked away from the table and decided to open a competing web site with equal or better functionality (for the record, I am technically competent enough to do so but don't wish to deal with the land use issues that Groundspeak has done so well handling)? If such a competing site were to exist, and that competing site gained popularity, and that site opened their data to everyone, it would lead to the same plastering of data and deterioriation of the sport as Groundspeak is concerned about. The only difference is that there would be zero incentive (no contract repurcussions) to prevent such a demise. I'm sure several here could list multiple attempts at such competing movements already, though few have progressed far enough to be a serious contender. Groundspeak would have zero control over such a situation once it began.

 

Like I said, this is about risk management. Which is the greater risk? I personally think that if we are talking about the sport as a whole, it would be far less risky for Groundspeak to negotiate agreements fovorable to both Groundspeak and the geocaching community. There is actually less risk of a rogue operation through that process than by not due to the force of deterrant, but that is just my opinion (and we all know about opinions).

 

Could a rogue operation still happen even with licensing? Yes. Is the likelihood less by offering licensing? In my opinion, yes, for there is less desire to go elsewhere if here meets the community.

 

Its inevitable that we need to allow third-party sites access to some of the data so they can provide services (like stats) that Groundspeak chooses not to. Its not Groundspeak's intent to prevent others from extending the sport.

 

I'm glad that Groundspeak hasn't shut the door on allowing third parties to provide useful services. It means that we are really on the same page... both with the best interest of the sport at heart. It's merely a matter of figuring out how to mesh the many views into an acceptable cohesive form.

 

Thank you again for the much needed attention this has received.

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If it was soley using thier own hides, than would it even be an issue(yes, i know)

but really, If I as a cacher want to provide MY hides to the "public" then how grey is that area?

(NO, i am NOT doing this, it is just a question)

Oh I don't think that would be a grey area. I think you still retain the rights to your logs and hides and can do as you wish with them. Some people list their hides here and on navicahce. I am sure I will be corrected if I am wrong on that.

 

My point was really about just taking all of the caches and logs on this site, mine or anybody's, and sending it out there.

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Do I need to start printing "SAVE BUXLEY" t-shirts, or is this something that is going to get solved soon?

 

I gotta say, for the two years I have been geocaching, I have used Buxley's almost everyday. I am a visual person, and it was easier to see new caches pop up on a map, then on a list for me. I don't care if its two days later (I'm not a first finder).

 

So, please tell me why Buxley's is being blocked. I don't understand the harm this site was causing...can someone explain it to me without legal or technical mumbo jumbo?

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As for those with GPX software issues, I think Groundspeak should seriously consider offering a more clear and legally defined license to those software vendors.  The catch all legal wording of the WLA does do it's job very well in protecting the proprietary format, but it doesn't leave any room for developers writing GPX utilities (nor should it- those issues should be handled with specific agreements with the third party software vendors).  From my perspective, this isn't rocket science... companies license use of data formats every day.

 

Wouldn't this exclude most free software from using the file formats? From a quick read of the GNU GPL, the most common free software license, I get the impression that if a user is not allowed to copy, modify and redistribute a program that uses these file formats without an explicit permission, the software is no longer "free" in the sense of the GPL and thus can't be distributed at all.

 

Of course, IANAL (I didn't even know you could "own" a file format, unless it uses some particularly clever patented algorithms for writing and reading).

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In TOU, section 5 is just plain hyperactive. A Mozilla tab set to poll the newest caches once a day is a "automated means to access the Site". Surely this isn't what you're intending to prohibit.

Almost all agreements like this have this problem. Its not possible to account for every case. It should never occur to Joe Average User who happens to like Mozilla's tab feature and uses it in a manner similar to what you describe that he'd be violating our Use Agreement. Similarly, it should be obvious to another user who scripts Mozilla (perhaps even using the tab feature) to bulk download cache pages and save them to disk that they would be violating the agreement. Technically, they may be doing the same thing, but I believe people are smart enough to know the difference.

 

The WLA thing about "1 copy of the original data"  would technically preclude users from making sensible backups of their computer.  This probably isn't the real intent.

I see what you mean. I'll make a point of reviewing this section.

 

In WLA, the section "· Licensee shall not reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the Groundspeak-compatible data format(s) in an attempt to duplicate the proprietary and copyright-protected Groundspeak data model(s) and/or export format(s). "  is probably boilerplate text.  Exactly what data model and/or formats are you claiming here?

I can see how this might seem silly since other than GPX, LOC, and e-books (the format of which we clearly don't own), there isn't anything else. As I pointed out above, the GPX format's use needs to be better defined. Groundspeak has a number of internal projects that we've been working on but haven't released, but when we do, they'll fall under this section. We had anticipated releasing some of these things a long time ago, but due to human bandwidth constraints, haven't been able to.

 

"Licensee shall not remarket, resell, and/or redistribute the Data or any derived portion(s) of the Data in its digital form to unlicensed third parties."  This would preclude sites like the rest stop or "greatest hits"  listings from being compiled from PQs and put on the web, without acquiring a relicense, right?

Here again, I think the intent is clear enough. If you're worried about the technicalities, then you shouldn't post any data. That being said, I think most people understand the difference between posting, say, the cache name and a link back to our site vs. the coordinates and cache description.

 

People who know us and understand what we're trying to do will never run into a problem. People who do run into problems, contrary to what they might say, know perfectly well they're not supposed to do what they were doing. For people who are unsure, the easiest thing for them to do is to play it safe.

 

:o Elias

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Elias,

I am quiet confused about all of this. Is gc.com trying to stop us from downloading a pq, opening that pq in GSAK and converting the data to a file for mapping software and a file for a pda?

Edited by DeViDe

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Like I said, this is about risk management. Which is the greater risk? I personally think that if we are talking about the sport as a whole, it would be far less risky for Groundspeak to negotiate agreements fovorable to both Groundspeak and the geocaching community.

We agree, and that why we're moving in that direction.

 

:o Elias

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it's not clear if even something as simple as http://www.mtgc.org/rest/  would run afoul of the redistribution rules if it were to be compiled from a PQ.

I think as long as the net output of that page is nothing more than links that point back to geocaching.com, it wouldn't matter how the page is generated. Manually, by PQs or by ESP. The net result would be the same.

 

 

Hemlock, I know yours isn't an authoritative answer, but let me turn the knob slightly to see your breaking point. What if coordinates were used to, say, make a map? How about if cache type or container size were listed? Or if short description was given in a regional site to provide an overview of new caches in the area? Now you're using data beyond the cache name.

 

There are sites that do all of these things. Some from scraped pages, some from PQs, some from waypoint downloads. I'm not sure where the grey turns to black.

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Elias,

I am quiet confused about all of this. Is gc.com trying to stop us from downloading a pq, opening that pq in GSAK and converting the data to a file for mapping software and a file for a pda?

Absolutely not! What you've described is exactly how we intend PQs to be used.

 

If there's something specifically that confused you, let me know. Other people may be confused by it as well, so it may be helpful for me to try to clear it up.

 

:o Elias

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People who know us and understand what we're trying to do will never run into a problem. People who do run into problems, contrary to what they might say, know perfectly well they're not supposed to do what they were doing. For people who are unsure, the easiest thing for them to do is to play it safe.

 

Although I don't think you would sue me for providing the AGA with data derived from gc.com, I am still afraid to do so. I welcome the opportunity for the AGA to be able to 'license' data from Groundspeak that I can display on our web site. If a list is being made of those that wish to access such data, please add the AGA to the list and make me the point of contact since AlaCache.com resides on my server and my IP address. I look forward to working with Groundspeak to be able to access any data through an amicable licensing agreement.

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Thank you Elias for clarifying where Groundspeak stands regarding the risks.

 

We may have to wait a while before any of these things come about, so is there any chance at all that a "temporary agreement" could be issued to allow some of the old timers (like Buxley's, Babel, and myself) to continue operating with Groundspeak's approval? Sort of an, "ok we're working on it but for now we'll go ahead and accept you all on a good faith grandfathered basis" type of thing. This whole thread did start because of the Buxley maps (interestingly, the site I found out about geocaching on in the first place), so it probably deserves a bit of attention here.

 

I know the official stance is that written permission doesn't exist, but would Groundspeak be willing to consider granting some form of written permission to those whose services are essentially "broken" by the changes (as a temporary measure until something better can be arrived at)?

 

Doing so would certainly fix the problem which started this entire thread in the first place. I truly understand if the answer is 'no' at this point in time, but I though I would ask if Groundspeak would be willing to extend that measure to us.

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I know the official stance is that written permission doesn't exist, but would Groundspeak be willing to consider granting some form of written permission to those whose services are essentially "broken" by the changes (as a temporary measure until something better can be arrived at)?

I can't answer this yet. I'll need some time to talk this through with the rest of the team.

 

:o Elias

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I think most people understand the difference between posting, say, the cache name and a link back to our site vs. the coordinates and cache description.

Ok, here is a hypothetical situation I need clarified.

 

Say a cacher creates a cache and posts it here on GC.com. They, after it is approved they copy the info off the cache page or out of a PQ and post it to their OWN web site, and i mean ALL the data(coords, description, everything). Now I know they could have retyped the data but they didn't, it is 100% the same, they coppied it.

 

Remember this is THEIR OWN CACHE.

 

Is copying and reposting that data a voilation of the TOU or WLA

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Ok, here is a hypothetical situation I need clarified

 

...

You can understand that, since we're not lawyers, we can't offer opinions and interpretations of the terms of use. You are welcome to communicate with your own legal council to answer that question.

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You can understand that, since we're not lawyers, we can't offer opinions and interpretations of the terms of use. You are welcome to communicate with your own legal council to answer that question.

Ok, well I'll tell my friend what you said, I personally think they should replicate everything from scratch like I did for my web page. ;)

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it's not clear if even something as simple as http://www.mtgc.org/rest/  would run afoul of the redistribution rules if it were to be compiled from a PQ.

I think as long as the net output of that page is nothing more than links that point back to geocaching.com, it wouldn't matter how the page is generated. Manually, by PQs or by ESP. The net result would be the same.

Hemlock, I know yours isn't an authoritative answer, but let me turn the knob slightly to see your breaking point. What if coordinates were used to, say, make a map? How about if cache type or container size were listed? Or if short description was given in a regional site to provide an overview of new caches in the area? Now you're using data beyond the cache name.

 

There are sites that do all of these things. Some from scraped pages, some from PQs, some from waypoint downloads. I'm not sure where the grey turns to black.

Personally, I would think any of what you mention would be OK, since it wouldn't enable anyone to find the cache without checking the geocaching.com page to 1) make sure the cache is active, and 2) get the coords. Buxley's maps were not detailed enough to find a cache based on the map alone. As Elias pointed out, one of the concerns is people looking for a cache that is no longer there. By making sure that any "index" points back to the geocaching.com site, this can be minimized. Again, this is my own interpretation and opinion. Your mileage may vary.

 

And while licensing of data may very well be an issue in getting sites such as Buxley's back on line, I get the feeling that it was not their downfall. It was awfully coincidental that Buxley's and a couple of others went down shortly after throttling was implemented. I'm a programmer myself, and I can't imagine how Ed could pull down the data he needed without hitting close to a thousand pages per day. That's a bit more than the "minimum of stress on your servers" he claims. Just my observation.

Edited by Hemlock

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I'm a programmer myself, and I can't imagine how Ed could pull down the data he needed without hitting close to a thousand pages per day.

To do what Buxley was doing, the number of page fetches needed would be the number of new caches for that day. And these hits would not require any of the really nasty database searches and calculations required by, say, a "find nearest". They would just be simple fetches to pages that should be fully static. So, a few hundred a day.

 

With some help from gc.com, the number could be much less than that. But I digress.

 

Now, if 500 people visit Buxley's that day and they each click on only 1 dot, then they have generated the same number of page fetches as Buxley did. If 1000 people visit and click on 5 dots, then 10 times what Buxley used.

 

Heck, every cache owner probably clicks on his own page 10 times while submitting it and waiting for it to get approved.

 

Any load Buxley was generating to gather the data just pales in comparison to "user load".

 

-Rick

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You can understand that, since we're not lawyers, we can't offer opinions and interpretations of the terms of use. You are welcome to communicate with your own legal council to answer that question.

But wait a minute.

 

These are your terms of use. What is your intention of what they mean? I would guess that you had some idea of the point you were trying to make and then had the lawyers go and take that simple idea and make it complex and hazy with lawyerspeak.

 

I think you would have an opinion and make an interpretation because if you saw it being done and felt it violated the terms of use you would then turn it over to your lawyers. Your lawyers are not out there looking for violations, they act on the ones you come across. If you feel you are unable to understand what your own terms of use are saying how can anybody outside of your organization even begin to be expected to follow them.

 

So should I understand your statement to mean that if my legal counsel tells me I am not violating your terms of use then I am good to go and you don't have any problem with that? If that is the case I will put a call into him this morning and I expect his interpretation will be very much in my favor.

 

Yea ok I have put my smart-a** hat back on, but come on, that is really not an answer. ;)

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Yea ok I have put my smart-a** hat back on, but come on, that is really not an answer. ;)

I was being pretty clear that it wasn't really an answer.

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So the $64,000 question is when is Groundspeak going to be done with their interface so that web sites like Buxley's can get back up and running? I still think it would be a great feature for this site if they incorporated Buxley's maps and offered them to premium members.

 

Zack

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I still think it would be a great feature for this site if they incorporated Buxley's maps and offered them to premium members.

I think a lot of folks wouldn't appreciate having to pay for something they used to be able to get for free.

 

But, then again, I doubt TPTB would appreciate a feature that showed cache listed on other sites, too.

 

Then, Buxley might have a problem with it, too.

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You can understand that, since we're not lawyers, we can't offer opinions and interpretations of the terms of use. You are welcome to communicate with your own legal council to answer that question.

Ok, well I'll tell my friend what you said, I personally think they should replicate everything from scratch like I did for my web page. ;)

It's your data. Every word of it. Cut and past of what you provided won't get you in trouble. What might should GC choose to chase it down is if you snagged their cache icons, and other GC.com provided info.

 

If you consult your attorney it won't help you with the Groundspeak attorney. In law just like everywhere else. Opinions differ. Plus a common legal tactic is to point a much larger legal gun at someone than what they can reasoanbly defend if put to the test.

 

One last comment. Since Groundspeak hired the lawyers to nail down their INTENT for the TOS they do know that intent. All a lawer does is give advice and help give the TOS enforcable teeth. Someone is still in charge and calling the shots. That person should be able to answer questions, and if they can't they can alwasy consult their own attorney first.

 

This is all of course a guess. I'm not a laywer and can't give legal advice. However this is what I'd do myself.

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I'm a programmer myself, and I can't imagine how Ed could pull down the data he needed without hitting close to a thousand pages per day.

To do what Buxley was doing, the number of page fetches needed would be the number of new caches for that day.

 

Actually, it could be lower than that even. All he needed was cache name, GC# and coordinates and you can get all those things without fetching the individual cache pages at all. Proof left as exercise for the reader. (And I know that at least one of you knows how to do that.)

With some help from gc.com, the number could be much less than that.  But I digress.

Yep.

 

Now, if 500 people visit Buxley's that day and they each click on only 1 dot, then they have generated the same number of page fetches as Buxley did.  If 1000 people visit and click on 5 dots, then 10 times what Buxley used.

 

If the FTF hound or even merely the 'whaddya do this weekend' crowd stakes out http://www.brillig.com/geocaching/tennessee.shtml instead of http://www.geocaching.com/seek/nearest.aspx?state_id=43 , that's that many fewer times those pages get delivered.

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I am just your basic, non-techie geocacher with only 6 months of experience in the sport. But just like DeViDe, I am concerned that all this legal mumbo-jumbo disagreement is going to impede our ability to download our PQ's, use GSAK to convert them and put them in our PDA. Didn't an earlier post indicate that GPSBabel might be in violation and that GSAK depends on, or at least uses, GPSBabel? I'm probably (no, definitely) over my head, here, but this whole discussion sounds like a tug-of-war which could result in all of us falling down.

 

Rochelle

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I am just your basic, non-techie geocacher with only 6 months of experience in the sport. But just like DeViDe, I am concerned that all this legal mumbo-jumbo disagreement is going to impede our ability to download our PQ's, use GSAK to convert them and put them in our PDA. Didn't an earlier post indicate that GPSBabel might be in violation and that GSAK depends on, or at least uses, GPSBabel? I'm probably (no, definitely) over my head, here, but this whole discussion sounds like a tug-of-war which could result in all of us falling down.

 

Rochelle

I found Elias' post earlier in this thread to be crystal clear. I only use my pocket query data for personal use with programs that are specifically mentioned on the supported software applications page. One would think that if Groundspeak had a problem with the design of the programs listed on that page, then the programs wouldn't have been listed on that page.

 

I think that the discussions about use of the data above and beyond personal use, and scraping of the site by third party applications/websites that are nowhere mentioned on the supported software applications page, are the real issues being discussed here. The discussions are interesting, especially since I *am* a lawyer, but since I am a technological Neanderthal I will shut up and listen to what Elias et al. have to say as the discussion progresses.

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I could remove the Groundspeak extensions to GPX (which IS an open format) from GPSBabel in about 10 minutes...

A lot of things would come to a screeching halt and remove the reason that many people get PQs--and thusly pay their $30 a year.

 

Whatcha think?

This is the post that had me confused - it seems to imply that GPSBabel could get "broken".

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I could remove the Groundspeak extensions to GPX (which IS an open format) from GPSBabel in about 10 minutes...

A lot of things would come to a screeching halt and remove the reason that many people get PQs--and thusly pay their $30 a year.

 

Whatcha think?

This is the post that had me confused - it seems to imply that GPSBabel could get "broken".

I'm sorry. This was a tongue-in-cheek post made to illustrate possible, but highly unlikely, result of everyone stopping the use of the Groundspeak GPX namespace. (The mechanism by which the bulk the cache data is distributed to the masses.)

 

GPSbabel is one of the most powerful programs around and is used by other programs to do many of the more complicated mathematical computations. Why re-invent the wheel?

 

There are other programs that don't rely on GPSbabel to get things done. Plus, it was pointed out that even if Robert removed the ability of GPSbabel to read and write Groundspeak GPX namespace data, there are earlier versions still in the wild that could be used. So it's not as if you couldn't use your PQs.

 

That's not to mention that I took Robert's post about removing the functionality in question as tongue-in-cheek as well. I seriously doubt it would ever come to that.

 

In short, I doubt very seriously anything will change. From here I can only see things get better.

 

If nothing else, this illustrated the power that the third party vendors have.

 

Hope I cleared things up a bit.

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I agree enitrely, and although I believe all of the posts were made tongue in cheek, it does show a danger. According to the vague writing in the TOU Robert could be determined liable for including the ability to process gpx files in his awesome program. I think they were trying to illustrate the danger of a vague TOU. Although, the program was safe when written, and has had a link placed on gc.com so it obviously does not violate a reasonable use from gc's point of view, a strict interpretation of the letter of the TOU places it outside the bounds, perhaps.

 

I do not think that that was done intentionally or that anyone will be harmed here. However, when you step into the courtroom the "conventional practices" vs. "agreement" argument is a tough one to be on the wrong side of. I have been involved in more than a few cases where everyone agreed with the way things were being done until someone got mad. When that happens it is a good policy to be on the agreement side of the suit.

 

Since we are all working toward the same goal here, I am sure that some sort of amicable agreement can be reached that neither endangers the integrity of this sport we all love nor harms the third party developer's who are also working for the betterment of geocaching.

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It wasn't tongue-in-cheek at all. Monkeybrad gets it - the vagueness of the WLA and TOU is a raincloud on the horizon of any programs reading and writing these formats and I really was trying to highlight that point. Elias' post shows that the intent of these agreements is to let programs like this exist, so I'm not terribly worried about The Man banging down my door. It sounds like he's agreeing the current wording is not consistent with intent and I hope he's taking action to get that addressed.

 

On this specific point (Groundspeak asserting ownership of "the proprietary and copyright-protected Groundspeak data model(s) and/or export format(s)" my lay opinion is that GPSBabel's use of these specific formats has been repeatedly allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court under the various rulings of reverse engineering in the name of interoperability such as Sega vs. Accolade. So I decided to let it stay for the same reasons I allow, say, Mapsource modules in the tree even though there are similar clauses in the Mapsource agreement.

 

While I'm not a lawyer, I've spent a depressing percentage of my life dealing with them on this kind of stuff...

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I stand corrected on your tone of the post.

 

I'm wondering though if the interoperability issue would extend to a program that took data in some arbitrary format and converted it to GPX with the Groundspeak namespace so it can being imported into one of the third party programs like GSAK when no other avenue existed. In short, could I export my own data to GPX with the Groundspeak namespace so it can be imported into GSAK without running afoul of the TOU. Considering I could conceivably create a program to import data into GSAK without ever having agreed to the GS TOU.

 

Then there is the word "Groundspeak," most likely copyrighted and protected, which is embedded into the GPX namespace to consider.

 

Anyway, I've never had to deal with this kind of stuff before so I'll shut up and listen now. My only real concern is the ability to legally import my own data into GSAK and distributing said data in a readable form for others to enjoy and use in their program of choice.

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