IP suit shuts down time zone database

An open-source database described as “the computing world’s principal source of time-zone data” and “the key tool used by everyone to tell the right time globally” was shut down last week because of a lawsuit asserting that it was too dependent on a privately published atlas which was (allegedly) improperly relied on for historic entries. It’s been rebooted now, but the database compilers still face possible personal liability. [Stephen Colebourne, update] Programmer Arthur Olson, incidentally, is no relation.


  • Where exactly is the creativity in a complete set of historical facts?

  • alternate story: “Webpage designer takes photo from encyclopedia site, puts ‘photo from xyz.com’ at the bottom of the page. Doesn’t understand why anyone would be upset because his page is like totally popular and he totally cited the source just like he learned to do in seventh grade.”

  • The difference is that a photo is creative whereas a complete list of facts of a particular type is not.

  • I believe the whole listings thing was decided a long time ago in those “white ages” lawsuits by the phone company and the phone company lost.

  • How do the expect to get past the ruling in Feist v Rural Telephone Service? Is there a license that was violated?