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Monday, 5 March, 2001, 17:22 GMT
AA pays 20m in copyright dispute
AA roadside assistance vehicles, old and new
The AA admits it made an "error" with maps
The Automobile Association has agreed to pay 20m ($29.4m) to the UK mapping agency Ordnance Survey in a long-running battle over copyright.


It is clear from our investigations that the AA's processes were not as robust as they should have been

Matthew Thompson
Centrica
The AA's parent, Centrica, is settling out-of-court with Ordance Survey, paying compensation for the use of the agency's maps.

Hundreds of road maps were inadvertently used in AA's publications.

Centrica has accepted that the maps were used as source material to create its owns maps and those it prepared for other publishers.

Not robust

"Centrica believes that this was not a case of deliberate wholesale copying," said Matthew Thompson, Centrica's director of information services.

"The AA had genuinely sought to create an independently derived mapping database and had made substantial investment in order to do so.

"However, it is clear from our investigations that the AA's processes were not as robust as they should have been."

20m payout

The payment will be made over two years and covers backdated royalty payments, interest on these amounts and Ordnance Survey's costs.

It also provides an advance on future royalties, as the AA will now become a licensee of the Ordnance Survey material.

"With this matter now behind us, we're looking forward to working with Centrica in the future," said Ordnance Survey's chief executive, Vanessa Lawrence.

The AA has already paid 875,000 to Ordnance Survey - in 1999 - in backdated royalties in part settlement of the case.

This was after the AA admitted that some of its town plans had been based on the agency's source material in "error".

Ordnance Survey started proceedings against AA in December 1996 after a "long period" of trying to resolve the matter out of court.

The two companies issued a joint statement confirming the new settlement.

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