[Talk-transit] Again about time tables, and some interesting sites

Andrei Klochko transportsplan3 at gmail.com
Sun Dec 5 15:10:10 GMT 2010

Le dimanche 5 décembre 2010, Michał Borsuk <michal.borsuk at gmail.com> a écrit :
> On 5 December 2010 08:07, Andrei Klochko <transportsplan3 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello,
> But, at least in french law, as far as the opinions of the lawyers I consulted about this question were correct, any individual or company has the right, to download one by one the timetables - and transportation plans! - of any transport company, to extract the data (timetables: only the data itself, and plans: only the path of the buses, of course, but that's all that is needed!) from its support and presentation, and to incorporate it in any database we want, without asking any permission. If we do it "one by one": We have to recreate the database so as not to violate any right!
>  I would double-check this. Normally (i.e. in many countries with legal systems similar to that of France) one is allowed to download "non-sequentially" (one-by-one, but not in a manner suggesting copying the entire dataset), but not allowed to recreate the database.

I know, of course I realized it sounded weird, that is why I added as
much precision as i could when having these lawyears (2, both of them
specialized in french- and, if it wasn't for the transposition of the
rights, I would say european- intellectual property), i said "you're
sure you know what i'm trying to do with this, i want, ultimately, to
recreate their database!", but as they told me, it's pretty much as if
someone was calling one by one all the phone numbers he could call,
and then register this information in a database : he would recreate a
substantial part of the phone book, but he would do it himself. The
point is, a database is not protected by the only fact that it exists:
his owner has to prove that "he took the initiative, and the risk, to
collect, to rearrange and to present this database". Which means, a
small company, with only a limited number of timetables, could fail to
prove that the investment to produce its timetables, was really bug
enough to justify protection. Beyond the value of the information, if
it only took one afternoon to one employee, to make these timetables,
then - i guess - it would fail to get the protection of the database
law. To that extent, ut would be like movie timetables in the cinemas:
they are too few data to get protection. And wether, after collecting
all this data, you happen to recreate someone's database - for exemple
allocine's database - is none of anyone's concern : you collected the
data from separate sources, which all, one by one, did not spend
enougj investment to get protection of their data: it has no author
rights because the data itself, being constrained by a direct
utilitary goal, has no originality in itself, to the extent that "it
does not reflect any part of the personnality of its author"; and it
is no personal data, as would be phone numbers or adresses. So the
only protection possible is purely the one concerning "database
producers", as described above. What i just told you before, is
precisely the point that i'm checking at the moment: how much sand do
you need to start calling its whole, "a stack"; how big does a set of
timetables have to be, what complexity should it reach, to earn the
"needed subsequent effort, risk, AND investment on the behalf of the
transporter. But, as you know it, lawyears do not iperate on weekends,
so i will have to wait tomorrow to find out, as i didn't find yet any
previous judgements involving, in a really unclear way, this kind of
question: as far as I know, in France, everytime there has been a
lawsuit about database right, the quality of the database representing
a subsequent investment, was hardly the main question: everytime, it
was almost obvious. It had never been treated yet, such cases where
someone would be collecting together a lot of quasi-databases...

> Because I have indeed tried to ask permissions from the public transport operators to use their timetables and plans. But I must be bad at asking,
> I share your experience. I tried asking Mobiliteit in Luxembourg, they never answered. My local administrative body was so confused about my question that I first used their data, and then sent them a paper to sign. I would have never got the permission to use the data, partially out of the German national fear of anything new.
> And I also suspect that there is simple jealousy. People administering public transport usually have nice governmental jobs, and YOU come here and demand something. You may be uncovering the fact that what could be done by one freak is now being done by 5 individuals, all with the wrong tools.

That's what is weird: as i happen to come from a school of engineers
in France, i contacted a former student who has entered veolia
transport, up to a high rank, to have one of my two "forced answers",
and if i could have been able to formalize what he told me in a
contract, i would have my authorisation! I think (at least for France,
i can't say about Germany) that people are not answering me for three
reasons: first, almost always, as i understood it, they think that i
want their "timetable database file", which is a thing that is
internal to the company, and that, just as you said it, they won't
give it like that because it has value. But when they understand that
i only want permission to re-use publicly available one-by-one
timetables, then, they would (first) think that this is stupid because
it's too much unnecessary work (second reason) but mainly, they may
realize that i am just a freak, who doesn't know a thing about what he
is doing, mainly because if indeed i have the right to copy their
timetables without asking permission, then they would probably know it
too, and clearly. And they would think, just as you said it some
messages ago, "does this boy really know what he is getting into?
Concurrencing google transit itself, and all the other already big
players of the sector? For his own sake, i will let it go

The point is, if I really could take all these timetables, and the
routes, all by myself, then simply by crawling on the web i could
gather a lot. But then, it would be weird that google wouldn't have
done the same. With all their might, they can afford all the best
lawyears they want, and if it was possible, then i think they would
have done it by now.
However, there may be some non-trivialties: i think that big firms
like google do not want to risk lawsuit on a slippery domain as
database rights, and if they have the slightest doubt about them being
in their right,  then they won't do anything. I simply think there hve
been to few lawsuits with tight outcomes - when one side is at the
very limit of its iwn right - to make any authority in this domain,
especially in america where everything is done over previous
judgements. So we may still have a starting advantage, if first we
document ourselves really well, and second, if someone takes the
responsibility of the "first try". And about that, i think i could do
it...i have nothing to lose, as i induce no loss of benefits on the
side of the companies...but i still have to document myself a little!

Good sunday evening
> --
> Best regards, mit freundlichen Grüssen, meilleurs sentiments, Pozdrowienia,
> Michał Borsuk

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