A website that allows users to search an electronic map of the city was ordered yesterday to pay compensation to the Shanghai Institute of Surveying and Mapping for infringing the copyright on its digital map.
The Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court ordered Shanghai Chinaquest Network Information Technology Co Ltd to pay one million yuan (US$125,000) to the institute.
The institute said it signed a three-year contract with the Website in September 1999. The deal allowed Chinaquest to use the institute's digital map of the city to develop its Website.
According to the contract, the institute was in charge of updating the map once a year and Chinaquest would pay an annual user's fee of 330,000 yuan. The two parties agreed the institute would retain ownership of the map and all copyright, and Chinaquest was not allowed to use the map for other projects or provide it to a third party.
When the contract expired, Chinaquest signed contracts with six other companies to make electronic maps of the city for them. The basic data used in the projects came from the version offered by the institute, the plaintiff told the court.
Chinaquest also began offering a paid service to allow users to search maps online or by mobile phone.
Chinaquest denied it had used the institute's map. It said the data came from the National Geomatics Center and provided a contract it signed with the center as evidence.
The institute, however, offered a statement from the geomatics center saying it had never given Chinaquest any maps similar to those at the center of the lawsuit.
A former manager from Chinaquest also told the court the company had used the institute's map, to which it made some revisions.
The court found the two electronic maps were very similar in terms of look and symbols used to mark locations. It also said Chinaquest didn't prove it had a legal source for the map.
(Shanghai Daily December 26, 2006)