From a post on the official Google Earth forums it seems Google have finally got the message, we know most of their US data is public domain anyway, and some global stuff is from NASA which has always confuses me, how can they claim copyright on public data that US taxpayers funded? Anyway it looks like that will all change, way to go Google!
From a Press release leaked by Seer –
Mountain View, Calif. — March 31, 2008 — Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced today that they were wrong in regards to how the imagery in Google Earth is used. Larry Brin, Janitor in Sector Three is quoted as saying; “There has long been confusion about the imagery in Google Earth. It seems that a lot of this imagery is public domain. But yet we keep telling people only Google Maps and Google Earth can view this imagery, so it seems we have been wrong for the last three years.”
Google, after seeing the success of Microsoft Virtual Earth and the Yahoo Maps sharing their imagery to the public outside of their applications, is getting on the band wagon and hoping to get people to think Google thought of this first and stop using Virtual Earth and Yahoo! Maps. “Once we figure out how to make money on this, we will open the imagery up for all to use” Says Google door man Joe Blismo.