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Timetable App Developer Gets Nastygram From Transit Sydney 378

Posted by timothy
from the didn't-get-the-gift-horse-memo dept.
mikesd81 writes "ZDNet Australia writes that NSW state corporation RailCorp has threatened a Sydney software developer with legal action if he fails to withdraw a train timetable application that is currently the second-most-popular application in its category in Apple's App Store. Alvin Singh created Transit Sydney after he began teaching himself how to program in Cocoa Mobile. Within days of its Feb 18 release, Singh received a cease and desist notice from Rail Corporation NSW, the government body that administers Sydney's CityRail network. The email states: 'I advise that copyright in all CityRail timetables is owned by RailCorp. ... Any use of these timetables in a manner which breaches copyright by a third party can only occur through the grant of a suitable licence by RailCorp.'"
"As a government body, RailCorp information is protected by Crown copyright, a contentious provision in copyright law that has recently been used to block attempts to access information on the location of Victoria's bushfires and even seemingly innocuous information as the locations of public toilets. 'RailCorp's primary concern here is that our customers receive accurate, up-to-date timetable information,' RailCorp spokesperson Paul Rea explained. 'This includes details of service interruptions, special event services, track work and other changes. ... At this stage, it is not possible for RailCorp to grant third-party developers access to our internal passenger information systems. As such, any third-party CityRail timetable application would contain inaccuracies and have the potential to mislead our customers.'"
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Timetable App Developer Gets Nastygram From Transit Sydney

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:09AM (#27088209)

    I don't know anything about Australian copyright law, but under US law you cannot copyright a fact. A train timetable would certainly qualify. This might be one area where we get things right.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:12AM (#27088233)

      Advertised train times a fact? In what country is that? Usually, these are pure fiction.

      • by castorvx (1424163) on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:19AM (#27088263)
        Because the train operators have been using that damn application!
      • by LuNa7ic (991615) on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:21AM (#27088283)
        As far as I'm aware, Japanese trains have to be within ~2 minutes of the schedule or the passengers get a partial refund.
        • by Aranykai (1053846) <slgonser@NOspAm.gmail.com> on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:35AM (#27088369)

          Correct. They even give you a receipt to turn into your employer or school explaining that they are responsible for your tardiness.

          I seem to recall reading the average delay last year was only 26 seconds.

          • by ArwynH (883499) on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:47AM (#27088435)

            Never heard of anyone getting a refund.

            They do give out the receipts though, which legally protect you from being tardy. Quite useful because when it rains, the train are guaranteed to be at least 5min late, sometimes up to 30min.

            Other common reasons for trains being late are overcrowding and suicide.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by vtcodger (957785)

              ***Quite useful because when it rains, the train are guaranteed to be at least 5min late, sometimes up to 30min.***

              No kidding. And you might mention that Tokyo gets around 150cm (60 inches) of rain a year. That's as compared to 40 inches in Seattle and 29 in London.

            • by mattwarden (699984) on Friday March 06, 2009 @10:46AM (#27091211) Homepage

              > Other common reasons for trains being late are overcrowding and suicide.

              Incorrect correlation direction.

        • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@@@gmail...com> on Friday March 06, 2009 @10:26AM (#27090969)

          As far as I'm aware, Japanese trains have to be within ~2 minutes of the schedule or the passengers get a partial refund.

          Sadly, the same is not true in Sydney, where a few years back Railcorp defined "on time" to be anything up to five minutes after the scheduled arrival/departure time.

          Naturally, this dramatically improved their "on time" performance statistics, which they then used to justify a fare increase.

          With that said, from a technical perspective, their poor performance is apparently due to incompetence, not malice (at least according to my wife, who used to work for an engineering firm with a lot of Railcorp projects).

      • I'd say Japan. I've been there a few times and have always been amazed as I watch long distance trains pulling into the station exactly when the timetable says they should.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by failedlogic (627314)

          Did you bring a watch ..... really?! Are you sure they didn't just change the clock at the other end to make it look like you got there on time? ;-) ;-)

          • No seriously, maybe one train in 1000 is off by over 30seconds (in major areas dunno about smaller places). Its impressive to say the least.
          • by AlecC (512609) <aleccawley@gmail.com> on Friday March 06, 2009 @06:14AM (#27089161)

            I have used it for successfully to get out at the right stop when I cannot read the station names. You get out when the train is scheduled to arrive at your destination. My experience is that (a) the train is actually stopped within the scheduled minute, and (b) it is at the right destination. Very comforting when the script it complete gibberish to you.

            • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Friday March 06, 2009 @09:28AM (#27090321) Homepage

              I have used it for successfully to get out at the right stop when I cannot read the station names. You get out when the train is scheduled to arrive at your destination. My experience is that (a) the train is actually stopped within the scheduled minute, and (b) it is at the right destination. Very comforting when the script it complete gibberish to you.

              I tried this in the Swiss Alps once, thinking that "hey, it's Switzerland, these things should be on-time, right?" I forgot how close the Alps are to Italy. Luckily, the mountain trains don't run much faster than walking speed in that place - when the conductor discovered my error (about 5 minutes out of the station), he said "that's your train over there, want to change?" He went ahead of me to give me a hand jumping up, hopped off of one moving train sprinted about 20 yards and hopped onto another moving train. I wonder how often they do that?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by radtea (464814)

          The curious thing is that RailCorp is claiming copyright on the factual train times, but then says the problem is that it must protect users against the possibility of errors in the data the app provides. It obviously has no copyright claim against erroneous data.

          If I were the developer, I'd consider shifting all of the numbers the app provides by an hour or a day or a minute or something--maybe randomly +/- a few minutes. If the table is no longer factual and makes no claim to be, the copyright claim may

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by JoeMerchant (803320)

            If I were the developer, I'd consider shifting all of the numbers the app provides by an hour or a day or a minute or something--maybe randomly +/- a few minutes. If the table is no longer factual and makes no claim to be, the copyright claim may be somewhat weakened--or not. Worth looking into at any rate.

            This is what "fake books" do for sheet music, the tunes sound very very familiar, but they are just a little different.

            In this particular instance (fake books), I think the spirit of the law has been raped and left in the gutter - there should still be protection against this, just like Lamborghini replicars, etc. On the other hand, copyright law needs every kick in the teeth it can get, things really should go public domain after 30 years or so.

    • by Cimexus (1355033) on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:22AM (#27088287)

      Unfortunately the relevant part of Australian intellectual property law is a bit of a relic from the 'olden days' and actually doesn't bother to distinguish between a creative work, and merely publishing a fact. So things like telephone directory data and train timetables CAN in fact be considered copyrighted here.

      Yes it's utterly ridiculous. The Australian Law Reform Commission is looking at this as a matter of priority in its review of Australian IP law, and it's likely to get changed within the next 5-10 years. But for now, that's the state of affairs.

      Disclaimer: IAAL.

      • by supernova_hq (1014429) on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:33AM (#27088359)

        Disclaimer: IAAL.

        Holy crap, and actual lawyer on slashdot!!!

        • by Cimexus (1355033) on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:38AM (#27088385)

          Well I'm qualified as one ... but I don't currently practice law. I'm a university lecturer ... specifically, Information Technology Law and IP Law. So saying 'IAAL' is slightly naughty of me since I'm not actually representing clients et al. at this point, I just have the necessary qualifications.

          • by Namarrgon (105036) on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:43AM (#27088415) Homepage
            Pointing out fine legal distinctions - holy crap, he really is a lawyer on slashdot!!!
          • by Orlando (12257)

            So, if you're not doing it for real, you are practicing :)

      • by complete loony (663508) <Jeremy DOT Lakeman AT gmail DOT com> on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:50AM (#27088447)
        Which is also holding back DIY PVR adoption since there is no legal source of TV show timetables.
      • As pointed out else where there is database copyright, where the compilation of facts can be copyrighted. E.g. street indexes, phone directories and email addresses published on websites.

        IANAL

      • by mgblst (80109)

        We have the same problem in Australia with Channel 9 (or channel US as I call them) copyrighting its tv listings.

        These two companies are a joke. Scum, the lot of em. It is what happens when you let lawyers make decisions for you.

      • by teh kurisu (701097) on Friday March 06, 2009 @06:21AM (#27089203) Homepage

        It's not the most ridiculous thing in the world. Facts could be seen to be more deserving of copyright protection because, unlike creative works, they have to be collected and, depending on the context, kept up-to-date. This takes time and money. I'd be pretty pissed off if I collected large amounts of information, putting substantial resources into making sure it was accurate and up-to-date, with the intention of recovering that investment through advertising (for example) only to have someone reproduce it sans-advertising for free.

        Obviously there has to be a distinction between the fact and the collected data, and it probably shouldn't apply to data that already exists, but a knee-jerk reaction against copyright might not be helpful.

    • I don't know anything about Australian copyright law, but under US law you cannot copyright a fact. A train timetable would certainly qualify. This might be one area where we get things right.

      In Australia (and I think elsewhere) there is such a thing as a "database right". A rough example would be the phone book. It is a collection of facts: people's names and their phone numbers. However, there is a significant investment in collecting these facts, and so the particular *set of facts* (ie, the database) has an associated database right. So, unless the authors of the app independently collected their own data on when trains pass particular stations (eg, by sitting in every station with a wat

      • Re:Database rights (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Xoc-S (645831) on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:46AM (#27088427)
        So create an app so that it collects real-time data gathering information via GPS, Wi-Fi hub, and cell tower triangulation and uploading it to a central server (similar to Google Latitude). You could even use the accelerometer in the iPhone to detect when trains started moving, since I'm sure that it would be a different profile than walking. After a month or so, you'd have a real database of when the trains run rather than what appears on the schedule, which is more valuable information anyway. They couldn't touch that info, since they don't own it. If I lived Down Under, I'd write it just to tell them where they can stuff their copyright.
        • Re:Database rights (Score:5, Insightful)

          by raju1kabir (251972) on Friday March 06, 2009 @04:00AM (#27088489) Homepage

          That, sir, is a very clever idea. If I lived down under, I'd help you write it.

          Then again, I've already lived there in the past, and you couldn't force me at gunpoint to make that mistake again.

          • Re:Database rights (Score:4, Informative)

            by Animaether (411575) on Friday March 06, 2009 @07:12AM (#27089495) Journal

            more or less clever than detecting traffic speeds (and thus jams) by tracking cellphone signals from the stations - as is already used / in trials?

            Knowing that -a- train passed by point X at time Y is great... knowing -which- train that is, however, is a lot more important.

            In addition, that only gives you the realtime information... if I want to travel tomorrow, how's the situation -right now- going to help me? I'd still want to be able to look at the scheduled time table - no matter how far off that may be from tomorrow's actual situation - so I can at least plan ahead. I can then use the realtime information -tomorrow- to see if the train's actually going to be on time or whether I can stay a bit longer and say my goodbyes to my daughter 5, 10 minutes later.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by stephanruby (542433)

          You sir are a genius. I was going to suggest some kind of random number generator based on some non-copyrighted number sequence (may be, something like the Fibonacci sequence), but your idea is much better -- it's even CSI worthy.

          That being said, I think a wiki, or better yet just a couple of handwritten notes of actual times from his user base would actually be enough, at least for now. In the meantime, I'd just post a copy of the letter on the web app, plus I'd post the contact information of all the lawy

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by highways (1382025)

        I don't know anything about Australian copyright law, but under US law you cannot copyright a fact. A train timetable would certainly qualify. This might be one area where we get things right.

        In Australia (and I think elsewhere) there is such a thing as a "database right". A rough example would be the phone book. It is a collection of facts: people's names and their phone numbers. However, there is a significant investment in collecting these facts, and so the particular *set of facts* (ie, the database) has an associated database right. So, unless the authors of the app independently collected their own data on when trains pass particular stations (eg, by sitting in every station with a watch -- unlikely), they presumably were using RailCorps' "database" (timetable).

        This is currently been tested in the high court, at least as far as TV Electronic Program Guides. See http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/10/18/2037216&from=rss [slashdot.org] for the story.

    • by wvmarle (1070040) on Friday March 06, 2009 @04:43AM (#27088681)

      It also depends on how the information is retrieved.

      For example, some 15 years ago in The Netherlands a company wanted to release a phone book to compete with the monopoly fixed line provider's phone book. This to sell advertisements and so of course. Now to get the telephone numbers, they took the phone book to China, and hired a bunch of Chinese for cheap to manually copy the numbers from paper into a computer, and then printed it. The monopolist of course didn't believe that, and a law suit followed.

      The point was: reading and typing the numbers is legal, as the information could not be copyrighted. However directly copying the phone book (e.g. by using a photocopier) would be illegal.

      This of course is not Australian law, but I just want to point out that even though the information (telephone numbers, sports results, TV schedules, transport time tables) may not be copyrighted, a certain representation of it may suddenly be copyrighted.

      The train company may argue that it is illegal to draw the information from their web site (e.g. screen scraping), even though it is not legal for someone to walk down to the station, look at the published tables, type the information into their PDA, and publish is.

      As another poster in this thread points out there is also an issue with TV listings: these are normally drawn directly from a TV channel's Internet site, and that may cause copyright problems. However if someone would gather the information from public sources (printed listings, the newspaper, whatever) then it may be a different matter.

      Of course I think it is silly to have these tables copyrighted, and even silly from the train company to prevent this information to be known by as many people as possible (the more people know about when a train runs, the more are likely to actually take it), without knowing the details of how this information is retrieved and how the Australian copyright laws deal with this kind of information we can not say whether they are legally right or not. And whether they are morally right or not, that is a totally different discussion.

    • Crown copyright (Score:3, Insightful)

      by golodh (893453)
      In Australia timetables from Government-operated companies *can* be copyrighted mate. Read the article. "Crown Copyright" it's called. Says it all really.

      It seems that they had a report advocating a relaxation of certain provisions in the Crown copyright act "to allow for more easy access to public interest information, but those changes have yet to be implemented".

      So for the time being Railcorp can sue the pants of anyone who publishes any part of their railway timetables. And they will since they're p

  • That's not good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:17AM (#27088257)

    block [...] seemingly innocuous information as the locations of public toilets.

    something you definitely need when you have transit problems.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by foobsr (693224)
      something you definitely need when you have transit problems

      I strongly agree, remembering that I once upon a time stayed a whole day on a bridge in Nicosia because there was a comparatively clean public toilet underneath ;)

      CC.
  • tip of the iceberg (Score:5, Insightful)

    by speedtux (1307149) on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:24AM (#27088303)

    Governments all over the world are asserting copyrights on information created with public funding, or even public domain information.

    Particularly annoying is when museums and similar institutions assert copyright over images of works that should have fallen into the public domain by now, in direct contradiction of their mission of disseminating those works to the public.

    Potentially, governments can also use copyright claims in order to restrict distribution of information that the government finds politically undesirable: statistics, investigative reporting, etc.

    Generally, everything a government creates with tax payer money should be public domain.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Generally, everything a government creates with tax payer money should be public domain.

      I couldn't agree more, and if it's software, it should be open source.

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:24AM (#27088305)
    Years ago, the MBTA had a download that could be installed on older iPods and would give you bus and commuter rail schedules.

    Then, a Palm app was "sponsored" by some Palm user group, and the iPod download mysteriously disappeared from their website.

    Now, the MBTA is +$6BN in debt and can't afford to do anything like this- or implement the real-time tracking system all the busses are equipped with. It gets worse- Charliecards can't have money or passes loaded on them via the web, nor can you check their balance via the web. The commuter rail system was supposed to switch over a while ago. Student passes? Not able to load them onto Charliecards. They're such fucking morons that when they came up with bike cages that were "secured via charliecard", they neglected to mention that you can't have an existing charliecard granted cage access- not only that, but the bike charliecard can't have anything loaded on it!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

      But at least you can get off the train, right? Right?

      • actually, no (Score:5, Interesting)

        by SuperBanana (662181) on Friday March 06, 2009 @11:26AM (#27091709)

        There was a case recently where a well-dressed guy with a laptop case passed out on the Red Line. The passengers hit the emergency button, the mid-train conductor came out, took one look at him, said "he's fine, just drunk."

        The train went another half a dozen stops, including past Mass General Hospital (literally. The stop is maybe 500 feet from the emergency room), and Park Street, where Boston EMS had been told to meet the train. The train didn't stop at Park- it went all the way to South Station, miles from any hospital.

        To put this in context- they had just announced they had put defibrilators in all of the commuter line trains after a guy died because (drumroll please) the conductors refused to stop the train to meet an ambulance crew- they went all the way from Wellesley to South Station, by which time the guy was a vegetable. They got their asses sued, and lost- there should have been manslaughter charges.

  • by what about (730877) on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:25AM (#27088313) Homepage

    This seems one of the cases when an Idling corporation wans to get money out of work done by someone else.
    The corporation did not have a product that people wanted, a person makes such product and now the corp wants the idea and the money I presume.

    I have a feeling that laws should contain a part where the "intent" of the law is stated. In the Copyright law the intent is to give a limited monopoly on the "product" to allow people to produce new books that otherwise would not be viable.
    A train timetable is no such thing, yes it is printed, but it is a byproduct of the service, not a product in itself !

    IANAL The point is: If laws had a part where it was written what was the general aim of the law than maybe it would be simpler to decide on borderline cases.

  • That would put anyone who took a picture of any display in any Sidney train depot that showed any time schedule - on the wrong side of the law as well...pffttt....

  • he should add 1 second to each time and suddenly it's not a fact from their timetable, it's his own creative work that merely HAPPENS to be close to theirs. no harm done.
  • iTunes link? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Friday March 06, 2009 @03:46AM (#27088429)

    Seriously. Links to PDFs are bad enough. I really didn't want iTunes to launch itself.

  • Wikipedia may not be 100% factual, but data rarely is 100% factual. Anyway, Wikipedia is represented as being a compendium of facts. Does this mean that Wikipedia is not actually copyrighted, and can be used without attribution?

  • by ItsyBitsySpider (1462333) on Friday March 06, 2009 @04:14AM (#27088553)

    Couldn't the developer create an application of what yesterday's, or the previous week's, train schedule was? Then, the application would be reporting past events, much like any news agency is allowed to do.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mgblst (80109)

      But I don't want to catch the train yesteday, I want to catch todays train.

      In fact, public transport in Sydney is a joke. Most buses for me stop right at the edge of town, a mile from the center. Each trip costs a ticket, you don't get 2 hours of transport included. And the bus which takes me into town, the only one that actually goes to the center of town, doesn't stop for me on the way back. It keeps going for 20 minutes, to the middle of nowhere, as I discovered at 2am one day. There are also special bus

    • Only if he included the deviations from the published timetable which occured, for example late arrivals or services which didn't run at all.

      Any more than 5 minutes or so late and the timetable becomes useless. People would arrive for the published time of 5 minutes later and miss their train.
  • by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Friday March 06, 2009 @04:41AM (#27088671)
    This is business as usual in Australia: The Federal Government uses the old archaic copyright practiced by *GREAT BRITAIN* (emphasis is theirs, not mine) where the government holds copyright on everything, and charge like a bull:

    * Australian Maps are copyrighted by the federal government's mapping agency AUSLIG.
    * Real Estate Data is copyrighted by e.g. Department of Natural Resources. They in turn make exclusive deals to data companies who sling wads of cash their way in exchange for special access. If you a citizen want access you're forced to go through these resellers. The famously greedy Macquarie Bank owns one of these.
    * Tide tables are copyright.
    * Even Aeronatical data is copyright. The US Department of Defense used to distribute a worldwide database of Aeronautical data, but they had to stop because "Air Services" (a branch of the Australian Government) hated the idea of the public getting for free what they were trying to sell. Instead of doing a worldwide edition without the Australian data, the US Department of Defense simply ended public access.
    * Anything and everything. From simple forms to photos taken by government (e.g. a nice photo of that billion dollar aircraft paid for by your taxes) are copyrighted by the government.
    * Even *THE WEATHER* is copyright. Print the weather in your local paper or stick it on the website, and you'll get an earful from the Weather Bureau who insists you "purchase a product license".

    In all cases the people who run these departments like to think of themselves a private businessmen, but they're not: their capital is provided by the taxpayer and they've got all the protection of being part of the government. They're a monopoly. They can charge what they want. Not like you can go to the government down the road instead. Pigs at the trough.

    This is different from the US where under the constitution the US Government does not copyright what it produces, reasoning your taxes paid to collect the data, so why should you be forced to pay again.

    In the Sydney case here is the worst part: Their railway system is known as being beyond terrible. Trains don't show up, break down, disappear, bypass stations, ticketing doesn't work, there's bugger all security. There's a real culture of sloth, laziness and corruption there. And here's a guy selling something to help commuters (and offered to give it to the railways department for free) and they threaten him instead.
  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Friday March 06, 2009 @04:55AM (#27088747) Homepage

    The headline says he got a nastygram from "Transit Sydney".

    According to the summary that is, you know, right below it, "Transit Sydney" is the application, not the company. The company is "RailCorp".

    Getting a nastygram from an application you developed does occasionally occur (fuck those runtime exceptions), but not in the sense this article implies.

  • I advise that copyright in all CityRail timetables is owned by RailCorp. ... Any use of these timetables in a manner which breaches copyright by a third party can only occur through the grant of a suitable licence by RailCorp. ...

    As such, any third-party CityRail timetable application would contain inaccuracies and have the potential to mislead our customers.

    So the information that he is disseminating is both classified and wrong. Sounds like the classic Scientology defense to me. I'm no lawyer, but I have

  • and point out how bone headed Railcorp is being, and request that he force them to backoff. His email address is david@campbell.minister.nsw.gov.au [mailto] and his name is David Campbell. An email to Nathan Rees, the Premier of NSW, at thepremier@www.nsw.gov.au [mailto] wouldn't go astray either. Rees is also on twitter [twitter.com], so you can also pester him there.
  • Change the data so that everything is listed as 3 seconds early. It's no longer the same time table.

  • by russsell (185151) on Friday March 06, 2009 @07:38AM (#27089643)

    His Twitter page [twitter.com] says "I've asked Minister Campbell to speak to RailCorp. They will meet with the app developers to negotiate how to use the info accurately"

  • My experience (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The New Andy (873493) on Friday March 06, 2009 @09:02AM (#27090121) Homepage Journal
    I recently had a dialog with them about this stuff. Here is how it went: Me:

    I would like to put a program on my laptop that will hold the cityrail timetable information, so I can check when trains are coming without needing the internet. I understand that the timetables are protected by copyright law, and that without your written permission I can't do this. So, could you grant me permission to create and distribute copies of the timetable? I don't have any intentions to do this for commercial reasons, but I would want to distribute the work I've done under a licence that allows others to do so if they choose. Thanks for your time.

    Them:

    I refer to your email requesting to use the CityRail timetable. Copyright of all CityRail timetables is owned by RailCorp. Any use of these timetables in a manner which breaches such copyright by a third party can only occur through the grant of a suitable licence by RailCorp. RailCorp is not currently entering into licensing arrangements for its timetables for the purpose specified in your enquiry. I trust this information is of assistance. Yours sincerely

    Me:

    I was surprised to receive the answer I did about timetables. What exactly are you trying to achieve by preventing people from using your timetables? Is there any reason why you don't want to make it easier for people to know when trains are due? The information I would like is just the information already on your website, made available for free to anyone. I just want to put it in a more useful format. Thanks for your time.

    Them:

    I refer to your further email requesting permission to reproduce CityRail timetables. To address your question, CityRail is not preventing the public from accessing its timetables. The fact that timetables are readily available at stations, and published on the CityRail website, should more than answer your query. While I appreciate the motives behind your request, I can only reiterate our organisation's previous position, namely, that we are unable to accede to your request for reasons of copyright. I am sorry that I am unable to answer you in more favourable terms. Yours sincerely

    Me:

    Thanks for getting back to me, it is much appreciated. Sorry to keep bothering you, however you seem to have misinterpreted my previous message. My first message asked for permission to use the timetables. To this, you said no. My second message asked why you said no. To this, you restated your original response. So for my third message, I'm restating the question from before: Why can't/won't you allow timetable information to be copied and used? Thanks for your time.

    Them:

    I refer to your further enquiry regarding the use of CityRail timetables on internet sites other than the www.cityrail.info and 131 500 infoline site. Please accept my apology on behalf of RailCorp if our previous responses have not dealt with this issue with sufficient clarity. Copyright of all CityRail timetables is owned by RailCorp. Any use of these timetables in a manner which breaches such copyright by a third party can only occur through the grant of a suitable licence by RailCorp. RailCorp is not currently entering into licensing arrangements for its timetables for the purpose specified in your enquiry. As explained in a previous response, this is because RailCorp wishes to ensure the information provided to customers is the most up-to-date and includes warning of trackwork. This is not currently possible even on our CityRail site until further internet and web management projects are completed. CityRail also runs several special timetables over Christmas/NYE, Easter etc. and for special events which, by our experience, are rarely updated in a timely fashion on unlicensed third party app

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by itsdapead (734413)

      The official position is that they don't want to confuse customers when timetables are out of date.

      Sorry - lets put that right for you:

      The official position is that they don't want third parties to confuse customers - that's their job!

      Seriously, and lets play devil's advocate here, they do actually have a point. If third parties publish outdated information then its still their employees who get to deal with the irate customers. I've got a little picture of Very (self)Important Businessman waving his Blackberry and spitting foam at the poor underpaind customer service bod - he's not going to be appeased by the little "valid until 1st January 2006" disclaimer on the "About" screen.

      A more constructive c

  • Wait a second... "Any use of these timetables in a manner which breaches copyright by a third party can only occur through the grant of a suitable licence by RailCorp."

    What that's saying is that you're only violating their copyright if you get a license to do so.

    Whoever wrote that letter needs to re-take Remedial Passive Voice.

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