by Mike Masnick
Thu, Oct 1st 2009 9:58pm
Like many other transit authorities, NY's MTA took a ridiculous stance that it owned train scheduling time, and threatened independent developers, demanding large licensing fees for creating iPhone or web apps. This has never made any sense to me. Even if those transit authorities have licensed the data in the past, you can't copyright facts and (much more importantly) the goal of any transit authority should be to get more people comfortable with using public transit -- and if an independent developer is willing to create a useful app that does that for free, it should be celebrated, not met with a cease-and-desist. It looks like some at the MTA are finally realizing this, as they're backing off some of their earlier threats, and letting some apps move forward (thanks ADM for sending in the link). They don't have an official policy on this yet, but do admit that it makes sense to "evolve" to keep up with what people are doing. Later in the article, they basically admit they never really thought about this, and the whole idea that someone else might make an app for them seemed foreign, and thus, they reacted poorly to it. Either way, it's good to see them come around to realizing that opening up data makes a lot of sense.
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