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Map Masher Marshall

Geoff on 5 LiveSo I got on BBC Radio 5 Live in the end then.

Cheers to Chris Vallance from the blogs & podcast section of ‘Up All Night‘ for talking to me, and I suspect at somepoint it may appear as a podcast on PocketPlanetRadio too.

In the meantime, if you missed it – you can hear me here. [2Mb .mp3 file]

Also in the meantime, I’ve altered my pages here – as linking to things that exist on other peoples sites can’t get me in ‘trouble’ can it? Of course not.

Oh, and good morning to TFL & solicitors if you’re reading this. Nice to have you with us again today.

60 responses to “Map Masher Marshall”

  1. Alan Perks says:

    Oh good, they haven’t exterminated you!

  2. Tim says:

    I’m glad you’re still online at least! 🙂

  3. Tina from the T.Block says:

    Listened to the R5 PodCast, well done!

  4. Cris says:

    Were i a grafitti artist (i am not), i would be tempted to go around the stations tagging the un-CCTVed areas with a version of the Roundel with the word “Underhanded” instead of Underground.

    I’d make this as a stencil in PDF form for people to print out and do just this, or have the logo on their website, but i can do without the legal hastle…. lol

    (Ps. Versions of the Roundel with the slogan Underhanded are copyright of me and any reproduction will make my mother cry, you cads)

  5. Fimb says:

    Oh, and the same friend as is hosting the above added this –


  6. Anthony says:

    #5 – Ha ha ha! Excellent! I need to go to lab – you just wasted fifteen whole minutes of my time!

    Geoff – well done on the 5 Live thing! The maps page is legendary.

  7. Mikey says:

    Why doesnt any of the silly maps stuff appear anymore?…not even the new page you replaced it with

  8. Rob(Geoff's brother-in-law) says:

    #3 – He’s not The Messiah………he’s a very naughty boy!

  9. geofftech says:

    Right, well now I’ve taken the whole of /tube and /tubechallenge off line.

    It would seem that me saying “Hey all these mirrors are available” is in ‘breach’ because Im advertising where copyrighted material is available.

    So they’ve been in touch with my ISP this morning, who have in turn been in touch with me, who said that they would have to take me down by 6pm this evening if I didn’t remove that page.

    So everything’s offline at the moment, and I’ll bring it back at somepoint when I can be arsed. I’ve got better fucking things to do with my time now than piss around with this.

    The mirrors are out there, it’s all been blogged on various sites sufficiently for people to know about, I don’t need to advertise them anymore. There are now more copies of these maps online now than there were this time last week. And I think that says it all.

  10. What a bunch of twats … remind me of the management here!

  11. Anthony says:

    They have no right to take down the non-copyrighted stuff, whatever happens. I know it’s a pain in the arse, but you could have left them up and then kicked up a fuss when the whole site was removed.

  12. Edith says:

    Wow, they *really* want to make enemies of us all, don’t they? 🙂 Do you get the blame if your visitors happen to link to mirror sites in their comments? *whistles*

    Personally, I’m starting to reconsider how often I’ll need to buy a travelcard in the next few months – I’ll only be in London intermittently and most places are within walking distance of my route’s rail stations, so do I really need to spend the extra money each time when I know it’s being wasted on stuff like this? For once I’m pleased to live near a South East Trains station instead of a tube station!

  13. geofftech says:

    Well they clearly don’t like and underestimated the fact that there would be such a backlash and that people would go round making mirror sites of mine.

    Not that I can mention the copies/mirrors that people are making of course 🙂 I know nothing about those …

  14. Tim says:

    That’s just bloody typical! Just when I thought TfL were a reasonably decent company too…

    I feel like shutting down my website, which is supposed to promote the Tube and for which I receive no money, just out of principal. At least before they try and shut it down themselves…


  15. Psycle Sam says:

    I wonder if they are now going after Google for caching all of the “silly tube map” images on their image search?

  16. I accept it was 2.00 in the morning, but count the number of “um’s” Geoff/Jeff/Geff uses!

    On the other hand though, great interview Geoff but I would have slated TFL a little more!

  17. geofftech says:

    I always say “umm” a lot in real life – thanks for pointing that out Paul!

    It’s also worth bearing in mind that I said a lot more, but the whole thing was edited down to the 6 minutes that it is!

    The BBC also have to be fair, and they have to have my point of view, followed by TFL’s statement from their point of view.

    And it’s true .. it’s amazing what happens if you go and Google the world “sillymaps” right now. Not that i’m suggesting you go and do that of course, oh no, deary me! Far from it …

  18. dmitri says:

    Dear Geoff.

    We are sorry to confirm, but you are using the same type of white background as we at TfL do. Please make sure you close your site down before the 16th of march 2006, otherwise we will sue you.

    You can also buy a certificate from us for 150 a year so you can share our type of white backgound.

  19. Kirk says:

    Um’s are good – makes it easier to listen to. Apart from that big long messy one they didn’t cut.

    Listen to any Radio News broadcast and you can hear all the edits…

  20. Pete says:

    Just another message of support. Here’s hoping you manage to work something out – personally I’d have been tempted to call their bluff for a little longer, but of course it’s easy to say that when it’s not you being threatened. I have of course mirrored your maps page.

    Do you plan to put the tube challenge pages back up at some point?

  21. whoever says:


    Total Fucking Leeches

    Twat Faced Lawyers

  22. So, you break the world record for visiting all 275 London Underground stations in the fastest time, and TfL’s response is to ask you to remove all the relevant pages about your record-breaking attempts from your website?


  23. Ross says:

    Just a thought – “someone” needs to get the maps loaded onto a P2P network, and then start a campaign to get them circulating. That will get them FAR and WIDE!!!

    I can just imagine the headlines….. “TFL raid P2P server in Germany over hosting of links to Sillymaps”

  24. geofftech says:

    #25 – Now that’s a great idea! But I probably can’t say anything to encourage that. I probably shouldn’t even breathe really.

    “Dear Geoff .. you appear to be breathing in air, which our passengers have to use each day on there journeys in our cramped carriages. Pleast stop breathing immediately…”

  25. SK says:

    Have you tried contacting any papers over this story? Metro would be a good paper to get the story in, as it’s mainly read by tube users!

  26. geofftech says:

    #SK – Metro’s transport page is just the mouthpiece of TFL though! That’s why you never see anything bad about the tube in there .. I don’t think they’d go for it at all.

    I did speak to the Evening Standard – because we all know how much they love cuddly Uncle Ken & Co. – and they almost (but didn’t) go for it. Shame.

  27. Nic0 says:

    Well it’s disappointing that Geofftech’s ISP, Claranet, would choose to buckle so easily under empty legal threats. It’s disappointing to know that Claranet’s decision was also made without reference to a lawyer to consider the evidence at hand. I would suggest to any and all readers that Claranet is not an ISP you would want hosting your website if you intend to link to information that you do not hold the copyright on!

    (Hint: aren’t all links on the internet to sites you don’t hold the copyright on?)

    To SK and anyone else, don’t wait for Geoff or anyone else to spread the word on this. Write letters, write to your MP or London Assembly representative, write to Ken, write to Transport for London and protest this in the strongest possible terms. Inform your local rags, inform your national press and speak to your friends.

  28. geofftech says:

    Oooh, I’ve been BoingBoing’d again. Excellent!

    Anyway – this one isn’t finished yet folks – I was a little down about this yesterday, but not today – and have got a few things on the go now, which may mean we haven’t heard the end of this yet.

    Watch this space … !

  29. A. Fischer says:

    I just wanted to weigh in with a little support. I have only visited London a few times (mostly when I was competing in the Henley on Thames Royal Regatta for my crew team) but I love your city. I have a personal love for all public rail transport and have happily journeyed on them in London, New York, Boston, Paris, and Chicago (now my home). People in these cities take an inordinate amount of pride in their public transportation. Lovingly referring to them as the Metro, Tube, El, Subway, T, etc. etc. I loved bombing around London on the Tube and consider it second only to NYC for ease of use and city coverage. I have been passively following the map mashups on BBoing for a while now. I cannot even fathom why anyone would want to squelch these maps.

    I don’t even live in your country and I find myself admiring the Tube. I just spent the last hour reading about Harry Beck and the Tube map after listening to your radio piece. I am impressed that his representation for the Tube or something close to it has seemingly become the de facto standard for all subway systems internationally.

    So without getting any more long winded I just wanted to say “good luck and good job” as a foreign appreciator. If you can’t get any love from your own public transport just know that there are others out there rooting for you. Thanks for all the free culture!

  30. MoBo says:

    Been following your troubles from Florida via Boing Boing. Good luck, mate. Surely you’ll ditch your ISP when all this settles down, no?

  31. geofftech says:

    Will talk to my ISP again during office hours tomorrow (currently working nightshifts, hence why awake at 3am our time here!) and will sort something out. Hopefully.

  32. Tim says:

    #31 – “I loved bombing around London on the Tube…”

    I suspect you didn’t realise quite how that could sound when you typed it!

  33. Jan says:

    I can just barely understand why TfL wouldn’t be happy with the silly maps, but why they’re targeting the Tube Challenge pages is totally beyond me. Guess they’re going to go after Simon Patterson and the Tate now. Should be fun to watch.

    All the best from a Dutch friend of all things London, Tube and tube map-related 🙂

  34. Alfalfa says:

    Havent TFL learned anything? If you act all heavy handed on the internet all that happens is more people become interested and it turns into a freedom of speech issue.

    Is there any way of telling Tfl how we all feel?

    Keep up the good work. Its only a matter of time before the papers come to you anyway.

  35. Nick says:

    Geoff, it sounds like you should switch from Claranet to me. An ISP that doesn’t defend its customers against threats with no base in law doesn’t deserve to have customers.

  36. Paul says:

    Hey, that’s not a studio!

  37. Andi says:

    Hi Geoff, I have used your tube maps before and was disgusted to hear about what TfL are up to.

    I managed to snag those maps yesterday just before you took them down. I have them up and many more will follow suit… The flood gates are now open!

    I have also created a roundel with ‘BULLY’ written across it (albiet not
    in New Johnston) that i’ll be posting around too.

    I am so annoyed by these bully-boy tactics… I bet some back-office
    solicitor really had his horn on.

    You’d think ‘he’ would of got over his playground bullying by now… *sigh*

    I keep thinking we should have an ‘Anti-Bullying Act’ which says that
    poorer defendants should have a handicap based on the proportion of the
    earnings of both parties when things get legal – maybe one to campaign for in the future.

    Anyway, behind you all the way. I hope to see them back on here some time soon.

  38. George from Liverpool says:

    I hadn’t heard of this site two days ago, but I happened to hear you on Radio Five the night before last, and I’ve been following the story ever since. It’s shocking to see a company that has received so much support and good publicity from this site reward it with threats and bullying. Shutting down a harmless labour of love in some sudden litigious spasm is something no company should be allowed to get away with, and I sincerely hope that the strength of feeling this generates can persuade them to relent.

    On the bright side, if it wasn’t for this controversy, then I (and I suspect many others) would never have come across this site. The remixed maps are a work of genius… I’ve even been inspired to try my hand at an anagram version of the Merseyrail Network map! Who would have imagined that Hamilton Square was an anagram of Harlequin Atoms?

    The very best of luck to you in restoring the site to its former glory, and congratulations on such innovative work.

  39. Andrew says:

    How much have your site hits gone up since this recent event, Geoff?

  40. Claranet’s reaction to TFL is disgraceful. May I suggest having a look at someone like Zen who don’t jerk their knees?

  41. Gregory says:

    Sadly Claranet could shut down your site for no other reason than because they didn’t like it. The people saying “they have no right” are wrong. They do.

    They shouldn’t, but they do.

    Sounds like you need to change host…

  42. Pete says:

    Here’s what Healy’s (who I believe are TfL’s solicitors) have to say about their work in this area:


    Media/Intellectual Property: Department Overview

    Healys focuses on providing commercially sensible

    Really? What’s remotely sensible, commercial or otherwise, about this action?

    and legally astute solutions to media-related intellectual property issues. Clarity and agreement with copyright ownership is vital and Healys will untangle and consolidate such rights issues quickly and clearly to enable protection for the owner.

    Healys can provide quick, cost-effective agreements to add certainty to any negotiations but also understand the need to maintain business relationships in a personality-based industry.

    Translation:” We won’t sue people if it would be counterproductive by getting them pissed off with us.” Unfortunately they assume that this only applies to people with influence in “the business” and hence believe they can threaten Geoff with impunity.

    We understand the architecture of structured commercial deals in the media. Healys anticipates partnering clients until funding is in place and providing the necessary comfort to enable funders to green-light projects. We also have a wide array of contacts within the media industry and we are not afraid to synergize where necessary.

    Someone must have been playing Buzzword Bingo here. The word “synergise” has become such a joke that it’s even got through to the PHBs that they’re not making themselves sound big and clever by using it.

    Anyway, I wait with bated breath to see what Geoff has up his sleeve next.

  43. Neil says:

    Oh that’s just complete fucking bollocks.

  44. geofftech says:

    Answers to a few things …

    Right, well I wasn’t going to say it, but because someone else has worked it out, YES – Healys (based in Brighton) are indeed TFL’s solicitors. I am somewhat in stiches at the speil on their website! Classic.

    I’ve also had three other press/media enquiries today, which will all come out over the next couple of days. And am still working on another avenue which I don’t want to talk about yet, because it’ll give the game away.

    My hits HAVE gone through the roof Andrew! Stat-wise, I normally get about 3,000-4,000 page impression per day, this went up to 7,000 on Sunday, 14,000 on Monday, and then 15,000 on Tuesday. There was also a healthy amount of gigabytes of data downloaded on the Monday as everyone took copies of the maps!

    I should stress though, that i don’t really look at my stats though – I’m not a stats person. I know that some people might accuse me of being all “look at me!” on my website, but all I do is quietly shove content up on my site without a fuss – just as I did with the maps – and I don’t push it or advertise it, I just let it be.

    If people want to look at it – fine. If they don’t – also fine. Which is another thing that hacks me off about this situation – I am just a humble one man, self-funded website, who is getting ‘picked on’ (for a want of a better phrase!)

  45. Santa Claus says:

    I fully support your campaign. In fact I have asked TFL to remove my image from their advertising campaigns as it was taken without my knowledge:

    And they won’t be getting any presents this year either, the tossers.

  46. Anthony says:

    LOL! I agree, Santa. They photographed you in such a compromising situation as well.

  47. Barry Salter says:

    “El Reg” have picked up on this too. See their version of the story HERE

  48. The Divine Mrs M says:

    What about this lot then? Wonder if they’ve had a missive too…

  49. Andrew says:

    Do a Google seach for “tube map” (without quotes). Geoff comes in at #5,
    while #7 … “Content removed at the request of Healeys Solicitors…”

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