I'm going to lay the groundwork here for a question that has bugged me since I quit doing photoreal ground textures for my airport scenery. In the past few months I have come across dozens of airports uploaded to several websites that utilize satellite imagery pulled from Google Earth. When I questioned the Authors they referred me to this page
and subsequent pages for their justification in using the images freely for "non-commercial" usage. I felt it was worth my time to give them fair warning that they could get into trouble were they to continue. Again, as per what they gleaned from the copyright laws on those pages, as long as they were not reproducing the images for "Commercial Re-Sale" they were within their rights to continue as long as attribution was given as stipulated in the "terms of Usage". . . . .thanks for the warning, but we'll be fine. Their method of capturing those images and placing them in the scenery they were producing was the same one I use SBuilderX 3.13.
That's their side. . . .I have repeatedly brought this up on the FSDevelopers website and gotten a totally different take on the subject. Basically that any redistribution without written consent from Google Earth is prohibited. So, with that information in place. . . . .
What is the correct answer? Has anyone actually contacted Google Earth and requested the use of satellite imagery for non-commercial use (specifically for re-sale) in MS Flight Simulator and been told they cannot use it in any way, shape or form? Or, like the authors of these recent scenery works who feel the terms of usage states that it can be used as long as it's not for re-sale commercially, have we just come to assume through an individuals interpretation of the Terms of Usage, that we can't use the imagery?
I've read the Terms of Usage and about 5 other pages of legal mumbo jumbo and personally, given what I would use it for, I can't find anything that says. . . .NO you cannot use it for that. The only thing that Google Earth is saying no to is Commercial re-sale of their images. Even then, they may consider it based on individual needs, but only after a written request is submitted. They also ask that any use of the imagery be accompanied by proper attribution, no problem. Unless someone can show me something definitive, something that states specifically that use of Google Earth imagery for use in MS Flight Sim is prohibited, I'm inclined to resurrect the 100+ sceneries that I had pulled a few years ago.