I would like to create a game that would use Google Street maps to build a map for gaming. Can pictures or video be obtained from Google maps to produce a game?

Google maps already blur signs and such. Can billboards and such in the game be reproduced without acquiring permission? What permissions might I need?


Google Maps Licensing enter image description here

1 Answer 1


You can take pictures of public buildings and use them in your game, if you want. You cannot copy pictures (of anything) taken by someone else without the copyright owner's permission, so you need Google's permission to copy their photographs. The public building exception is specifically about architectural works and does not include e.g. murals drawn on buildings, or billboards. In such a case, you would need permission from the copyright holder (the artist, or employer). You might hope for a fair use exception (again, assuming you took the pictures yourself), which has a better chance of succeeding if this is a free game.

  • Does this mean that a photograph of a billboard on the street cannot be sold by the photographer without permission of whoever owns the billboard content?
    – Greendrake
    Mar 4, 2019 at 4:16
  • "The public building exception is specifically about architectural works" This is true in the US, but not in countries that include Freedom of Panorama (FOP) in their copyright laws. Canada and the UK are two countries that accept FOP. So does much but not all of the EU. Mar 19 at 20:06

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