RMF in media, legal campaign to protect copyright of maps
RMF Publishing and Surveys, part of the roadside assistance group, is determined to take legal action against parties stealing its copyrighted maps and already has 12 cases pending in court, managing director Patrick Rausi told The Times Business.
Mr Rausi said the company has invested over €250,000 since 1993 to update maps dating from the mid-1950s. Malta and Gozo have seen more than 2,500 roads added to the network in over 50 years, all of which have featured in RMF’s cartography project of which it owns the copyright.
But Mr Rausi claims RMF’s maps are unlawfully copied and reproduced for brochures and leaflets, often by operators in the hospitality and tourism sectors. One operator has already rectified its position after RMF began legal proceedings.
“We are determined to protect our business ourselves and we have embarked on an advertising campaign to warn organisations stealing our maps that we will take action,” Mr Rausi said. “Up to 10 years ago, copyright infringement was rampant and we hesitated to go to court. But now, the courts are behind us. As soon as we present a case, people are stopped from distributing the maps.”
Tourists use more than 1.5 million maps a year in Malta, according to Mr Rausi. Some visitors are using mobile and tablet apps to find their way around, but many try to avoid incurring data roaming charges. RMF’s maps are designed for print and feature considerable information.
“I can recognise an RMF map anywhere,” Mr Rausi said. “We are tired of seeing our maps copied and our copyright stolen so rampantly. If we have to police this situation, we will.”