Railroad Says Train Schedule iPhone App Violates Copyright

from the crown-copyright-strikes-again dept

Ridiculous copyright policies strike again. Phill writes in to let us know that officials from Rail Corporation NSW, a government-run organization that manages the trainlines in Sydney, Australia, are threatening an independent developer who created a super popular train schedule app for the iPhone. The group is claiming that the train schedule is copyrighted information, under Crown copyright, which (for no good reason at all) allows the government to claim copyright on things. This same issue recently came up when Crown copyright was used (abused, actually) to stop Google from providing relevant info on the deadly brushfires in Australia.

This case may be even more ridiculous. The guy created a useful app that many people want. Rather than recognizing the demand for such an app, the railroad is threatening him. Their reasoning? The app might not be accurate. Well, if that was a problem, then people would stop using it. Plus, there are easy solutions: give him access to the real-time data and/or create your own damn iPhone app.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Chris, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 3:22pm

    typical

    cityrail and sydney buses are both hopeless The only reason the app may be inccurate is becasue their own schedules are inaccurate...

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    BooGotShoot, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 3:38pm

    How can they get their transit schedules correct when their toilets flush in the wrong direction. One problem at a time Aussies.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Mike Litorous, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 3:44pm

    BooGotShoot come back and talk to us when you fix this economic crysis you have caused.

    Not Australia's fault NSW is a bunch of rednick idiots.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Jesse, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 4:15pm

    But no information is better than maybe possibly incorrect information (maybe).

     

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  5.  
    icon
    Chris Charabaruk (profile), Mar 4th, 2009 @ 4:19pm

    It's because of similar legal bullshit that I haven't created an app for my WinMo phone that shows the bus schedules in my area. Crown copyright is enthusiastically supported by all levels of government here in Canada, too, despite being useless.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 4:59pm

    Re:

    If the toilet flushes why is it important which direction the water moves?

    Toilet flushes, no problem found, moving on to train schedules...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Noah Callaway, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 5:10pm

    Re: Re:

    (Darth Vader Voice): I find your lack of humor...disturbing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Fanfoot, Mar 4th, 2009 @ 10:15pm

    Australia is funny!

    Seriously, this is the country that didn't have Tivo for Y-E-A-R-S because the TV Guide information was copyrighted by the TV stations, so you weren't allowed to centralize it. Either they like letting lawyers run their country (even more than the US apparently, which is saying something) or they're all morons. Not sure which.

     

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  9.  
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    liddy-diddy, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 5:04am

    Re: Re:

    Is there an Ap for that?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    GGLiddy-Diddy, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 5:06am

    Re: Australia is funny!

    If you are talking about lawyers, yes, they are all morons. (Regardless of the country of origin.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    another mike, Mar 5th, 2009 @ 3:03pm

    Re:

    New South Wales; Australia's Alabama

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Jonathan RF Cooke, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 6:56am

    Re: BooGotShoot's comment

    Toilets do not flush differently south of the equator. It's just a popular urban legend. It would have to be a toilet several hundred miles wide in order for the Coriolis effect to perhaps be a factor. Anyway, as stupid as this policy is, I'd be more worried about not being allowed to carry a gun in Australia than knowing when a train is coming.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Cowherd, Mar 7th, 2009 @ 6:49pm

    Ludicrous

    "The group is claiming that the train schedule is copyrighted information, under Crown copyright ... This case may be even more ridiculous. The guy created a useful app that many people want. Rather than recognizing the demand for such an app, the railroad is threatening him. Their reasoning? The app might not be accurate."

    This case may be EVEN MORE ridiculous than that.

    Think about it for a minute.

    If the app infringes copyright, then obviously it's because of an infringing copy. That would mean that the app runs off a copy of the official train schedules. If the app "might not be accurate" in this case, it can only be because the official train schedules "might not be accurate". And then the app is not to blame for the inaccuracy.

    On the flip side, if the app is to blame for the inaccuracy, it can only be because the developer compiled his own train schedule based on observations of the trains or by some similar method. In which case he independently created the schedule the app runs off, instead of copying the official one. In which case, no copyright infringement.

    Therefore, to claim both copyright violation and "the app might be inaccurate" as reasons to attack it is to ask to have your cake and eat it too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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