Police claim speed-camera images "copyrighted"
It's appears to be such a piss-poor attempt to subvert justice, it's laughable. The Newspaper reports that East Sussex Police are trying to block the publication of images taken by a speed camera because they are "copyrighted material". The reason? A motorcyclist used the images to prove in court he wasn't speeding in a 30 mph zone and had the case was thrown out.
The Newspaper, a website which covers motoring issues with a political slant, published the two images after motorcyclist Peter Barker took East Sussex Police to court over the issue last year. Then last month, Barker received a solicitor's letter from East Sussex County Council on behalf of the police:
"It has been brought to our attention that the photographs from the Gatso camera, produced for your recent court case, have been published on TheNewspaper.com website. The content of these photographs are the property of Sussex Police and publication of them is a breach of copyright. They should be removed from the website forthwith. If they are not removed further action may be contemplated."
Um. You'll be hard-pressed to find a definition of copyright that could stretch to cover speed camera images, either in the dictionary or as stated by the Government. That's why we're reasonably happy to re-produce both the images on Bitterwallet:
Barker believes that the local council and police are trying to ban the photographs to prevent motorists discovering they can use the the images themselves to check the vehicle's speed against the radar reading. Actually this knowledge is reasonably widespread and has been for years, so the motivations of the police and council remain a mystery.
Speed cameras use radar to determine whether a vehicle is travelling over a preset speed; if it is, it takes two photographs at a set time apart - in the case of this camera, that interval was half a second. The distance travelled by the vehicle in that time can be determined using the road markings at these sites, so the speed of the vehicle can also be measured. The spacing between the road markings varies from site to site, and it's impossible to know without physically measuring the intervals in this instance - but the average spacing across the country is five feet, and if that was the case here then we reckon Barker was barely travelling 27 mph, never mind breaking the law.
There's plenty of information online about how to measure your actual speed based on the images - the biggest hurdle seems to be getting hold of them. What will be interesting in this scenario will be how far East Sussex Police pursue Cooper in the name of copyright.