Transport For London Kills Off Fan-Made Device Wallpapers Based On Its Seat Patterns

from the flexing-muscle-and-looking-stupid dept

Here's copyright once again playing the thug role because rights must be enforced and the subsequent harm, etc. and so forth until things are broken and people are angry and in the end, the "victor" is able to walk away from a battle not worth fighting, much less worth winning. (via Nate Hoffelder)

Sam Morris, a UK mobile and web designer currently employed with The Guardian, put together a few mobile/computer wallpapers based on the distinctive seat patterns found in the London Underground. Here are two examples of his creations:

It's such a lightweight project (possibly not in terms of effort, but in the scheme of things, as they say) that it's surprising it drew the attention of Transport for London, the agency that ostensibly controls all things related to the London Underground. (This is not its first time playing the role of IP thug.)

Morris didn't charge for these wallpapers, nor did he attempt to make it appear as though his work was officially-sanctioned or otherwise a part of Transport for London's purview. And yet, TFL decided this fun little project that united fans of the Tube and pleasurably tacky patterns needed to go. A creative outlet now memorialized by this tweet...
… and this message at Morris' site:
End of the line

Unfortunately due to a copyright claim by Transport for London, the backgrounds are no longer available for download.

I'd like to quickly thank everyone who visited the site over the past week for your enthusiasm.
One whole week before a government agency throttled it into nonexistence. Apparently, TFL said it sells products of its own featuring these patterns -- actual, physical products -- and that was enough to head off someone who wasn't even competing in the same space. Morris was not even competing, period. He offered free wallpapers for devices and could easily have partnered with with TFL to add his work to its offerings.

Or it just could have left it alone and enjoyed the small tribute Sam Morris had created. Now, all it has is a useless assertion of rights that has served to do nothing more than turn a small part of the population against it.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2014 @ 11:25am

    about on par for the UK now. since the bunch who are in atm started to remove democracy from the people by censoring the Internet, then bringing in a new law after conveniently being told by the USA of 'imminent terrorist threats' it brought into play a law that was thrown out previously! Cameron is going to go in the history books, just as his heroin Thatcher did but it will be for acting like a prick, not for doing anything that helped the country or the people!!

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

  2. icon
    DocGerbil100 (profile), Jul 22nd, 2014 @ 11:29am

    Ignorance is bliss?

    I wonder if the TfL lawyers responsible have any idea that they've done something wrong? What, if anything, was going through their tiny minds when they did this?

    "Oh, look. Here's a nice little resource celebrating London Transport and not interfering in the company's business in any way at all. Let's shut it down so people will hate us."

    I can see why TfL are such good friends with Boris Johnson - they have a shared interest in going out of their way to look like complete, incompetent buffoons.

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

  3. icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 22nd, 2014 @ 11:29am


    They probably paying consultants millions in an effort to raise their brand awareness.

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

  4. identicon
    PB, Jul 22nd, 2014 @ 11:47am

    Hope somebody finds some prior art and compels Transport to rip out its infringing seat arrangements. What goes around...

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

  5. identicon
    Michael, Jul 22nd, 2014 @ 12:26pm


    Since we know that we can get a copyright on two mathematical symbols put together, I am filing for my copyright on three of them together right now.

    Suck it Transport for London!

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2014 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Meanwhile

    What really confused me is how this is a copyright claim and not some kind of "trade dress" claim via trademark law.

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

  7. identicon
    Jacob, Jul 22nd, 2014 @ 1:20pm

    Nice work calling attention to this. Easy enough to find them somewhere else

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2014 @ 6:06pm

    Unless I misunderstand copyright completely, and I'm a Yank so I probably do, copyright is for one specific implementation of a work. For example, the physical arrangement of the seats in one specific car. My understanding is that copyright cannot apply to the generalized pattern, or the idea behind it. Is TFL claiming that they sell or distribute wallpaper identical to Morris' work? If not, what is the basis of their claim?

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

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2014 @ 5:26am

    I wonder if they have gone after these people making actual seats from tubepattern fabrics from the same factory.

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

  10. identicon
    HD Car Pictures, Nov 17th, 2015 @ 2:04am

    Get latest HD Car Pictures free. Free download Latest Katrina Kaif HD desktop wallpapers, Wide Popular Beautiful Bollywood Actress high quality resolution Indian Celebrities photos and pictures.

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

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