What do we want on mobile phone? Public transport time table information. It helps commuters and saves the environment. Is there anyone who could be harmed? No, but provide a value opportunity and there is some moron ready to take it away.
According to this ZDNet report, Alvin Singh, who has developed Transit Sydney – an iPhone application that provides a train timetable for Sydney – took his application to the No.2 spot for travel applications on the iTunes App Store only to be sent a legal cease and desist notice from Rail Corporation NSW:
[DDET Read more]
“I advise that copyright in all CityRail timetables is owned by RailCorp,” said the email, which has been seen by ZDNet.com.au. “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.”
This is a government organisation whose statement of values includes “We work hard to provide quality customer service” and “We work within a just culture that will be honest and ethical” but want to put up barriers to get key information out to customers at no cost to them.
Singh took the legal route and here is what he found:
Asked under what terms a developer could get access to a “suitable licence” as per the email sent to Singh, Rea said such licences are currently unavailable to developers while RailCorp firms up its own mobile development strategy. A timetable application for iPhone and other mobile users is expected later in the year, he said, although it was not yet clear whether this would be provided for free or at a price.
Oh great. Suggest the only route is to do A and then so you can’t do A. Their own “mobile development strategy”? Come on. What is the harm? So long as Singh doesn’t claim to be official and customers are informed, then there is no problem.
Here is what RailCorp say:
“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.”
Well actually, is RailCorp worried that customers who know about timetables might complain when the trains don’t run on time? Hmm, maybe they want to provide ‘indicative’ timetables only.