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The Courts

Time Zone Database Has New Home After Lawsuit 238

Posted by samzenpus
from the let-us-handle-this dept.
networkBoy writes "ICANN has taken stewardship of the time zone database after its original operators were sued for copyright infringement by an astrology software company, saying they will 'deal with any legal matters as they arise'. From the article: 'Without this database and others like it, computers would display Greenwich Mean Time, or the time in London when it isn't on summer time. People would have to manually calculate local time when they schedule meetings or book flights.'"
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Time Zone Database Has New Home After Lawsuit

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  • So? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 17, 2011 @12:17PM (#37740414)

    so? Either it violated the patents or it didn't. If it did, then the problem is either with the patent system or the specific implementation. Deal with one or the other.

  • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Monday October 17, 2011 @12:32PM (#37740642)
    This lawsuit is a no-brainer. Time zone data would without a doubt be an unoriginal database, meaning that under Feist v. Rural, it isn't eligible for copyright in the US.
  • Wikipedia (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 17, 2011 @12:38PM (#37740734)

    Can everyone just update the Wikipedia entry for your city with timezone information? It would be nice if it were in an easy to recognize format along with LAT/LONG position so this can all be scraped into a database via software.

  • by GeneralEmergency (240687) on Monday October 17, 2011 @12:47PM (#37740870) Journal

    .

    When are we going to start burning all the Astrologists as Witches?

    This lawsuit would seem to be ample provocation.

    .

  • by petermgreen (876956) <plugwashNO@SPAMp10link.net> on Monday October 17, 2011 @01:51PM (#37741774) Homepage

    Time zones have nothing to do with how long a day is.

    The "TZ database" definition of a time zone is different from the definition of time zone used in many other contexts. It is defined as "any national region where local clocks have all agreed since 1970".

    The relationship between local time in a given region and universal time can change for a number of reasons including regular daylight savings changes*, DST rule changes, changes depending on the governments view of the relative important of consistencey with local time vs consistency with neighbouring jurisdictions. Changes in who has jurisdiction over a given area and so on. Tracking these historical changes is nessacery if you want to accurately convert historic local time into universal time or universal time into historic local time.

    * And these rules are NOT a simple case of "on day x of month y". In particular it is common to fix the change to a particular day of the week. For example the european rule is last sundays in march and october. The north american rule is second sunday in march and first sunday in november. Some places like israel have even more complex rules revolving around religious events.

  • Re:Wikipedia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Carnildo (712617) on Monday October 17, 2011 @08:41PM (#37745746) Homepage Journal

    The database is more than just "what time is it in New York City?". It's also useful for answering questions like "On June 15, 1988 at 13:00 UTC, what time was showing on the clocks in Riyadh?".

    (That particular question is why the zoneinfo entry for Saudi Arabia is almost ten times the size of any other entry.)

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