copyright trap
n. One or more errors deliberately inserted into a map to help identify illegal copies.

Example Citations:
For example, ADC used approximately 200 so-called "copyright traps" in its maps — fictitious names, streets, dead-ends and the like — commonly used by cartographers to detect copying of the maps by competitors. Yet even though 81 of these traps were found in Franklin's maps, Gawthrop was unable to find copyright infringement.

Previously, the originality in the way the facts underlying the map were presented was far less important than the compilation of facts, due to the sweat-of-the-brow doctrine. With this doctrine's demise, however, the court's analysis had to turn to the originality present in the map.

The court examined three types of information in ADC's maps that were copied by Franklin — copyright traps, positions of symbols and street alignments — but was unable to find very much originality in any of these features. copyright traps are "false facts."

However, the court, adopting the logic of a 1992 Eastern District of New York case, reasoned that if these "false" facts were interspersed among actual facts, and treated as fiction that could not be copied, this would mean that no one could ever copy actual facts without the risk of reproducing a false fact and thereby violating a copyright.

Therefore, just as facts themselves are non-copyrightable, copyright traps are non-copyrightable.
—N. Stephen Kinsella and Robert E. Rosenthal, "Wither Goes Copyright Law?," The Legal Intelligencer, September 4, 1997

Maps, what do we know about them really? I mean, we trust them to give us the correct location of Panama, but how do we know we can take the map's word for it?

After all, it's not like they always tell the truth — some street directory manufacturers have admitted to putting in faux streets as a copyright trap to catch out map pirates.
—Kerrie Murphy, "Chart success from coast to coast, with a java on the side," The Weekend Australian, November 17, 2001

Earliest Citation:
Thomas Bros. has been mapping San Diego since 1951 when it produced a 52-page edition. This edition is the ninth region to be digitally mapped, a process that took a team of eight cartographers one year and about $ 1 million to produce, said Foster.

Most people use the guides for about two to three years, and buy new ones because "they don't want to get lost," said spokesman Ted Holt. The maps also contain some purposeful errors called "copyright traps" to protect the company's rights, but the errors would never actually mislead anyone.
—Mike Allen, "Thomas Bros. unveils better S.D. map book," San Diego Daily Transcript, September 15, 1993

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