What’s more convenient than having an unfamiliar subway system’s map and timetable information right there on your iPhone? Oh, what’s that, Berlin? Such a convenience violates copyright? Excellent!
There’s an application for the iPhone called Fahr-Info Berlin. It’s just as I described—a free app that contains the city’s subway (“metro”) timetables; it can also work in conjunction with maps to give you an idea of which station is closet to you at any given time. The company that operates the subway, BVG, claims that the application violates its copyright.
BVG, in other words, want to make money off the SUPER SECRET KNOWLEDGE of what time the next train shows up. That’s nice.
Now, BVG says that it’s going to develop its own version of Fahr-Info Berlin, and, as such, the free version, developed by a 21-year-old student, needs to be removed from the Apple Store. It’s still available to download last I checked.
Wired points out similar instances. For example, NS, which runs the Dutch railway network, has pulled the ol’ copyright defense in order to get another iPhone application, Trein, shut down. And doesn’t the London subway authorities sue someone every 15 seconds over its map? Crazy.
All of this absolutely reminds me of Mr. Burns’ attempt to blot out the sun because it provides free energy. The copyright claims, I think, are just as silly.