Berlin Metro Demands Removal Of Free iPhone Timetable App
from the wouldn't-want-people-to-know-when-to-take-a-train... dept
Every day, we wake up hoping that some bit of common sense will find its way into the world when it comes to copyright issues, and yet every day we seem to find out about more and more ridiculous situations. For example, the Berlin Metro system has ordered a 21-year-old student to stop distributing an iPhone app that helps travelers look up a train schedule. I’ve used similar apps for train schedules in the US, and they’re quite useful. In fact, the convenience of them makes it more likely that I would ride a train. So what’s the complaint? Copyright, of course, with a touch of jealousy thrown in.
The Berlin Metro people are claiming that the application somehow violates their copyright on the train schedule and map. It’s unclear whether or not there’s any substance to the copyright claim. While in the US you can’t copyright facts (such as a train schedule), in Europe they do have “database rights,” which allow someone to copyright a collection of facts. Perhaps a timetable might fall under such a definition, though it would still be ridiculous to stop this app from being offered.
But, based on statements from the folks at the Berlin Metro, it’s clear that this is not just a copyright issue. It’s a jealousy issue:
That is our copyright and Apple is one of the richest firms in the world.
This fits with the psychological theory that many people are upset at being better off if it means that someone else is in an even better position. In this case, the Berlin Metro is worse off, because fewer people will use the Metro (and pay for it) because it’s not as convenient to get the information. But according to the Berlin Metro, that’s fine, because Apple is too rich (even though this app doesn’t make Apple any money). Logic, apparently, is not a strong suit of the folks who run the Berlin Metro.
Filed Under: apps, berlin, copyright, germany, iphone, metro, timetable
Comments on “Berlin Metro Demands Removal Of Free iPhone Timetable App”
“Every day, we wake up hoping that some bit of common sense will find its way into the world when it comes to copyright issues, …”
Me too. Although about a lot more than just copyright.
I still don't get it
I realize that in the domain of copyright logic is rarely an issue of interest but I’m completely stumped by this. Isn’t it fair to say that Berlin Metro makes this information available to the public for free? If that’s the case then retardation is the only real explanation for Berlin Metro shutting down this not-for-profit venture. Great idea, shut down a service that increases patronage.
They are probably concerned with errors on his part causing them grief with their customers.
Nah, that’s not why they’re complaining. They’re mad at themselves for not thinking about this first. Way to attract passengers, you morons.
Funniest thing I have read all day. I need that. An organization concerned about their customers.
Any bets on how long before they publish their own app?
Sure John: Never. Period. They wont’ do it.
Re: Re: Re:
Can you picture the Berlin Metro people trying to write an application for the apple store? Most likely it would not only give you the wrong train times, but tell you to take the wrong train.
Never. They are blinded by jealousy. They don’t want anything they consider theirs to help to make the iphone more useful. Never considering that the iphone app might make their services more convient to use.
a case of cutting your nose fewer ways to obtain train info = fewer passengers one word to the metro STUPID.
Someone in Toronto has started a similar project of an intelligent transit route planning tool
I hope it does not suffer the same, idiotic fate!
Re: Similar Project
We’ve been careful not to infringe on the TTC’s copyright, and even compiled our own database… I don’t know if this is the case in Berlin.
Since our data is open source, we’ve been encouraging 3rd party development and recently saw the release of an iPhone app with our data: Red Rocket
The TTC has not commented on our work at all… they certainly haven’t tried to interfere, and that’s good enough for me 😉
but typical of a public institution… …
Logic, apparently, is not a strong suit of the folks who read this list either.
Anonymous Coward, please point out the illogic of our fellow commentator instead of resorting to ad hominem attack.
to go offtopic
not one to go overboard praising public transport or public companies
The U-Bahn and the S-Bahn were from my vantage point as a recent tourist, were astoundingly efficient modes of transport.
Even more so that the more modern Madrid subway.
They _really do _ run the trains on time, down to the exact minute.
Like all the rest: going after Microsoft, the iTunes Store, etc. this is because it’s an American company. Zeropeans can’t help themselves when it comes to this….
That's what I meant by ...
… “Dog in the Manger”.
I think it’s more “hey, they’re messing with our stuff”.
B is also correct that they may be worried about misinformation.
Re: Jealousy unlikely
Yeah it may stem the erroneous idea that Berlin has a metro system.
Not quite accurate
Actually, the article is not quite correct.
The BVG (Metro company in Berlin) only lamented the use of copyrighted map images/graphics, which were subsequently excluded from the app. The guy who made it then crowdsourced the mapping (via a different iphone app with GPS enabled pinpointing of individual stations) and republished the map with his own map.
See this german article for an accurate description of what happened. http://www.basicthinking.de/blog/2008/11/04/bvg-und-fahrplan-info-iphone-app-ii/
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