AA Stranded with Pounds 20m Copyright Bill for Using Unlicensed OS Maps; in Defending Our Own Intellectual Property Rights, We Also Defend the Thousands of Businesses Who Are Licensed to Reproduce Our Material Vanessa Lawrence
The Automobile Association yesterday agreed to pay pounds 20 million in an out-of-court settlement of a long-running copyright action over the unlicensed use of Ordnance Survey maps.
A joint statement by the OS and Centrica, owner of the AA, said the money would be paid over two years and covered back-dated royalties plus interest, OS's legal costs and an advance on the coming year's royalties.
The settlement provided for the AA to become a licensee, allowing the use of OS source material in future publishing and information activities.
Centrica accepted that the AA had used OS originals as source material to create its own maps and used these in its own publications and in others it prepared for other publishers.
In all, more than 500 publications were involved, with more than 300 million individual copies printed.
OS launched a High Court action against the AA in 1996. Three years later, the AA paid pounds 875,000 in back-dated royalties in part settlement of the case after admitting that some of its town plans had been based on OS material as a result of what the AA described as 'an error'.
OS director general and chief executive Vanessa Lawrence said: 'With this matter now behind us, we're looking forward to working with Centrica in the future.
'OS mapping is the most detailed and comprehensive in Great Britain and a large number of publishers choose to use it as the basis of their own mapping products. …