The following piece is from an artist By the name of Bill Guffey who has a website devoted to using Google streetview as inspiration for painting virtual en plein air. http://virtualpaintout.blogspot.
"I had numerous email and telephone conversations with Google attorneys and Maps Team members back in 2008 regarding my use of Street View images as reference material for drawings and paintings. We talked about my series of paintings I was working on, and the project I envisioned.
I asked for permission to use the images and the decision made was that all artists can use Street View images to create (and sell) drawings and paintings without fear of copyright infringement from Google.
In fact, I sold several large pieces to Google for their San Francisco and London offices, and sold a series of 51 paintings (one from each U.S. state and the District of Columbia) to an attorney for Google."