Astrolabe Drops Lawsuit Over Time Zones, Promises Not To Sue Again

from the go-go-eff dept

Back in October, you may recall that software company Astrolabe claimed copyright over the time zone database and sued the volunteer maintainers of the public time zone database that is used by basically everyone to properly set the time. ICANN took over the database, and EFF took on the case of the two volunteers who were sued. Today EFF announced that Astrolabe has dropped the case and promised not to sue going forward.
In a statement, Astrolabe said, "Astrolabe's lawsuit against Mr. Olson and Mr. Eggert was based on a flawed understanding of the law. We now recognize that historical facts are no one's property and, accordingly, are withdrawing our Complaint. We deeply regret the disruption that our lawsuit caused for the volunteers who maintain the TZ database, and for Internet users."
In other words, the EFF did a typically excellent job explaining the basics of copyright law to Astrolabe, and/or its own lawyers realized that this case was a complete loser that was going to fail badly.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 7:11pm

    In other words, our lawyers promised us a slam dunk case. If not for those meddling kids at EFF, we would have gotten away with it. We are sorry we look like complete tools, and excuse me I need to go retract some email demands for cash from others using the data we claimed was ours.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 7:33pm

      Re:

      or even more so, we had a dumb case which we believed the people we were suing wouldn't have the cash or knowhow to defend but since people with the capability of mounting a defense came on board we are now humbly withdrawing whilst simultaneously spinning the issue in an attempt to make ourselves look a teensy little bit less bad.

       

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    Lorpius Prime (profile), Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 7:33pm

    Corporations may not yet have the ability to copyright facts. But if they develop or acquire it in the future, absurd lawsuits will become far more likely, according to legal experts.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 7:39pm

    Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Astrolabe should face charges of copyright fraud, and be receive the Maximum punishment allowed by law. Then maybe some of these bogus lawsuits would not be brought up. Make an example of these criminals.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 8:27pm

      Re:

      receive the Maximum punishment allowed by law

      So, a slap on the wrist, and drinks all around?

       

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        ltlw0lf (profile), Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 9:12pm

        Re: Re:

        So, a slap on the wrist, and drinks all around?

        Unfortunately, you are likely right about this. However I still hope that the maximum punishment will be stripping all legitimate "IP" from the company in question as well as a fine for being a douche.

         

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        The Groove Tiger (profile), Feb 23rd, 2012 @ 5:15am

        Re: Re:

        NO! We have been pushed around for too long. We will accept nothing less than slaps on BOTH wrists and a few stern words!

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 8:04pm

    asstrolube?

     

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    HumbleForeigner (profile), Feb 22nd, 2012 @ 10:33pm

    Hmm

    Let's see, "flawed understanding of the law" and "historical facts are no one's property". Well, if their lawyers did not understand the historical FACTS part, then they deserve to be disbarred! My understanding of lawyers is that they serve 2 functions; provide sound legal advice to their clients, act as agents of the court. In this case the legal team involved failed on both counts. They failed to recognise that historical facts cannot be owned, and they made baseless legal threats that supposedly had the full weight of the courts behind them.

    These lawyers should be disbarred at the very least.

     

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    the real bob, Feb 23rd, 2012 @ 12:17am

    What More PROOF That You Need That Google Is Behind The EFF??

    All those skeptical fools who refuse to believe that the EFF is a sock-puppet front for those immoral Intellectual-Property thieves at Google—here is all the PROOF you need!!! After all, who else stands to benefit from freetard Thieving of the valuable Intellectual Property timezone information that Astrolabe invested so much Sweat of the Brow into collecting? Hint: who operates across Multiple Timezones? Google, of course! See--the connection is so Blindingly Obvious, even a CHILD could see it!!!

    And what is with all this making fun of Astrologers, just because their Radical Ideas are at odds with Orthodox Science? What happened to Keeping An Open Mind on Important Questions? Who gave Science ownership over reality, anyway? As far as I'm concerned, all you unbelieving anti-faithers can just EFF off!

     

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      The Groove Tiger (profile), Feb 23rd, 2012 @ 5:17am

      Re: What More PROOF That You Need That Google Is Behind The EFF??

      Big Search. Get your bob right.

       

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      DogBreath, Feb 23rd, 2012 @ 9:07am

      Re: What More PROOF That You Need That Google Is Behind The EFF??

      After all, who else stands to benefit from freetard Thieving of the valuable Intellectual Property timezone information that Astrolabe invested so much Sweat of the Brow into collecting? Hint: who operates across Multiple Timezones?

      So they are going after Dr. WHO and his little dog K-9 too???

      Once the MPAA / RIAA figure out that he can travel to the future and bring back out of copyright Public Domain versions of every thing they ever owned (stole from the artists and the public), Dr. WHO will be sued until his TARDIS turns blue... well, a darker shade of blue.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 24th, 2012 @ 12:39am

      Re: What More PROOF That You Need That Google Is Behind The EFF??

      Damn. Beat me to it. On the other hand, when you consider the copyright-support drivel that bob's been spewing in threads about trademarks, I won't be surprised if the real "the real bob" goes on this tangent shortly afterwards.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 23rd, 2012 @ 1:37am

    We just need to do away with IP law altogether. Abolish it!!!

     

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    Richard (profile), Feb 23rd, 2012 @ 3:14am

    Education

    The MPAA/RIAA are quite right when they say that the problems of copyright will be solved by better education. Of course, as this case demonstrates, they are quite wrong about who needs to be educated and about what.

     

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    Michael Kohne, Feb 23rd, 2012 @ 4:08am

    Lawyers...

    I don't know too much about the legal profession, but aren't they supposed to tell their clients 'no' when the client asks them to file a clearly improper lawsuit?

    There's no edge condition here that they could have been working near - the database is a clear listing of facts and every lawyer should know that such things aren't copyrightable. Shouldn't their lawyers have refused to file the paperwork for them?

    Shouldn't there be sanctions on the lawyers for something this egregious?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 23rd, 2012 @ 5:11am

    More like them and their lawyers realized they'd suffer punitive damages for bringing such a ridiculous lawsuit to court, including having to pay their opponents legal fees. That's what happens in Europe most of the time.

     

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    DannyB (profile), Feb 23rd, 2012 @ 6:15am

    Astrolabe didn't foresee this coming. They lost because the stars just didn't line up correctly.

     

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    Lord Binky, Feb 23rd, 2012 @ 10:47am

    "We now recognize that historical facts are no one's property" [Our lawyers quit drooling at the suitcase full of gold we gave them and read about the law on wikipedia] "accordingly, are withdrawing our Complaint."[They took their pay and ran]

    So... they blame the lawyers for being incompetent for not correcting their obvious misunderstanding of the law. Excellent.

    Well, I guess since we can't own these historical facts we should move on. I hear there's some great property in the scientific facts area that is lovely this time of year.

     

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