Geocoder.ca Sued by Canada Post

The suit was made public back in March but seems to have just hit the media today. The story, as told on the geocoder.ca website:

Since 2004 we have crowdsourced* the generation of the "Canadian Postal Code Geocoded Database." When you make a query to geocoder containing for example this information "1435 Prince of Wales, Ottawa, ON K2C 1N5", we then extract the postal code "K2C 1N5" and insert it into the database that you may download for free on this website.

This allows you to look up a postal code (eg K2C 1N5) on www.geocoder.ca, or www.openstreetmap.org or a number of other sites that use geocoder.ca data and technology.

Since we do not have a postal code dataset from the authority on postal code assignments, namely "Canada Post", we derive and guess this information sometimes with pretty good accuracy results.

Now "Canada Post" has sued "Geocoder.ca" in Federal Court, asking "Geocoder.ca" to take this database down from this website, and also to "pay Canada Post" damages on lost business the later has suffered by not selling enough copies of their own postal code file (last time I checked at $5,000CAD a piece).

A defense fund has been set up and already has several hundred dollars. The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) is representing geocoder.ca in federal court.

geocoder.ca via @openstreetmap


Published Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Written by Adena Schutzberg


Published in

Government