As Britain is buried, someone claims the IP for the #uksnow hashtag

The #uksnow mashup map – where people tweet their postcode and mark the snow out of 10 – is well documented. We wrote about it last year when it first appeared and it’s arisen once again as snow hits the UK. Who knows, perhaps it will be around for years?

Developer Ben Marsh was later contracted by Vodafone to build a map which tracked Brits as they tweeted their holidays.

But now a guy is trying to lay ‘intellectual property rights’ to the #uksnow hashtag.

Julian Bray, a blogger (and “broadcaster, convention moderator, speaker, journalist and lecturer”) says the uksnow application was based on the original hashtag #uksnow “devised by @julianbray“. He will “grant Intellectual property” so long as people acknowledge him as creating the tag.

Paul Clarke, photographer and public sector consultant begs to differ.

Clarke says although he didn’t originate the hashtag he did – inspired by a recent barcamp – originate the data format which Ben Marsh went on to create the map with: #uksnow [1st part of postcode] [n/10].

He takes issue with Bray’s claim to ‘ownership’, though he’s not taking it as seriously as Bray.

The lesson for all? It’s probably pretty hard (ok, probably impossible) to claim the IP of something you make immediately public like a twitter hashtag. But let us know your thoughts below.

Meanwhile Bray has decided to re-create his hashtag, originally intended to indicate travel conditions, as #SnowUK.

The problem with that? Ben Marsh has now co-opted that into his UKsnow map.

Update: Mr Bray responds.