Canada Post drops legal claim over crowdsourced postal code database

[Read the post]

Why are the Canucks turning into the USA?

It’s very Un-Canadian of them…


Blame Harper.

I don’t expect Trudeau to be a bastion of democracy and Canadian values, but if he’s halfway between Harper and the average Canadian, he’s a vast improvement.


Market forces.



Actually this is one of those areas where there is more freedom South of the 49th parallel. In the US, “works of the United States government” are not eligible for copyright protection. There is no real equivalent to “Crown Copyright.”


Canada Post is quite badly strapped for cash and it is at least vaguely understandable why they would want to cling to what might be an important revenue stream.

Of course, it may also be argued that they are strapped for cash due to being colossally mismanaged by someone appointed by Harper (who is presently being asked to step aside).


I can go to this Canada Post page, type in an address, and get a postal code, no charge. There’s also a reverse lookup.

It has been this way for years, so for the individual citizen, I don’t see the issue. If it’s for businesses doing bulk mailings, why not have them pay?

1 Like

On the other hand the US Postal Service has a monopoly unheard here in Canada, taking companies to court if they rely too much on courier services. They’d never get away with this here.


Really? Because I have never heard of this, nor can I find any evidence of it.

The USPS works and it’s generally cheaper than the commercial alternatives.

Wikipedia: United States Postal Service: Universal service obligation and monopoly status

Article I, section 8, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution grants Congress the power to establish post offices and post roads, which has been interpreted as a de facto Congressional monopoly over the delivery of first class residential mail - which has been defined as non-urgent residential letters (not packages). Accordingly, no other system for delivering first class residential mail – public or private – has been tolerated, absent Congress’s consent.
FedEx and United Parcel Service (UPS) directly compete with USPS Express Mail and package delivery services, making nationwide deliveries of urgent letters and packages. Due to the postal monopoly, they are not allowed to deliver non-urgent letters and may not directly ship to U.S. Mail boxes at residential and commercial destinations.
The USPIS has the power to enforce the USPS monopoly by conducting search and seizure raids on entities they suspect of sending non-urgent mail through overnight delivery competitors. According to the American Enterprise Institute, a private conservative think tank, the USPIS raided Equifax offices in 1993 to ascertain if the mail they were sending through Federal Express was truly “extremely urgent.” It was found that the mail was not, and Equifax was fined $30,000.

That was a quick lookup just now. I first read about it in the papers years ago, and I’m pretty sure it was a company other than Equifax that was charged at the time.

1 Like

This Wikipedia page has some details of the private express statutes in the US. It doesn’t list any enforcement actions, but it does spell out the rules. The rules are for letters only - parcels and periodicals are not subject to these rules.

That’s because of the statutes - by law, the commercial alternatives must charge at least twice what the USPS does for first class** (see the “Extremely Urgent” Letters section), or use one of the other listed alternatives, all of which either must cost more than the USPS charges or are impractical as a business strategy.

** - Up to $3, which is more than twice the current first class rate, so I don’t think that caveat matters at this time.

1 Like

Canada Post claimed copyright over facts?

1 Like

Well good. maybe that means their employees get good benefits out of it then.

Again, I’m fine with the USPS because it actually works.

1 Like

You can copyright facts if they’re proprietary information. Facts YOU created.

Presumably Canada Post created the postal code system and assigned the postal codes themselves. They wouldn’t be allowed to copyright facts about the postal code system, but they could copyright the codes they assigned.

We have the same arrangement here in Canada, but the gov never enforces it. CPCA says you can’t deliver shit unless you charge 2x first class postage. Private courier companies will often loss-leader rates for next day or same-day delivery within cities for 3$ or less. Usually start-ups, that usually fail.

1 Like

Why on Gods Green Earth does the reporter think this is a “great deal” for Canadians? The settlement paragraph he quotes demonstrates otherwise.

The disclaimer, by stating that the postal codes are crowdsourced and not licensed from the Canadian Postal Service, affirms that the Canadian Postal Service still has the right to copyright and license postal codes.

At best, it skirts the issue of whether the Postal Service can continue to license Postal Code access, and at worst, it affirms the Postal Code’s claim of ownership AND their ability to make taxpayers pay twice…I’m sure other Canadian Governmental entities will appreciate the outcome.

It’s not quite right to call the USPS a monopoly. The USPS is a public service and operates based on a specific Act in the U.S Constitution. It charges a considerable amount less it’s competitors because it it’s not meant to earn profits. It’s only mandate is to deliver the mail. Would Fed Ex or UPS deliver a letter from New York to California for 49 cents? Of course not, because it would not be profitable for them. Hence, a public postal service.

Funny enough, when Fed Ex or UPS handle a package that is sent to a rural region which the for profit companies have deemed “unprofitable,” they often pay the USPS to deliver said packages. Again, the USPS has a mandate for universal coverage, while the private companies do not.

If the USPS were abolished tomorrow, then instead of 49 cent stamps, you’d be paying many times that to private companies. We know this because The Netherlands privatized their postal system in 1989. Costs went up, service suffered greatly, and tens of thousands of people lost their jobs, not to mention the people who lost service altogether.

Finally, there’s this:
"In 2009, the New York Times compared the cost of sending USPS deliveries via privately owned UPS Stores versus sending them via government-operated post offices: an eight-pound package sent via USPS Priority Mail from a UPS Store on Manhattan’s Upper East Side to Old Greenwich, CT, for example, cost $21 as opposed to $8.80 from a post office across the street."


Except that the United States Constitution and experience of Equifax (see above) shows otherwise. And they’re not the only company to discover this.

BTW, is a wingnuttery site, essentially a re-publisher of InfoWars and WorldNetDaily stories. Why the North American Union is a done deal and will be in place by 2010, and all that. Like WorldNetDaily they’ll have a veneer of credibility through plenty of citations - but like WorldNetDaily, when you check the citations they don’t back what the story claims.