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RE: RailCorp targets rogue iPhone app (ZDNET.com.au)
3rd March 2009

So I just read the article over at ZDNET.com.au. Sadly this sounds all to common. I recommend you read the article for yourself.

This is terrible news.

I don't know the legal status of whether RailCorp would win if they went to court, but either way this in more evidence of Australia's poor Copyright laws. The fact that government created facts that are not creative works can be protected by copyright is absurd. Dispite numerous reviews (Crown Copyright Law Review 2005, Review of The Nation Innovation System (though the Government is still reviewing the findings of this one)) nothing has changed.

As the article states, "A 2005 inquiry by the Copyright Law Review Committee recommended relaxation of Crown copyright provisions to allow for more easy access to public interest information, but those changes have yet to be implemented and RailCorp is standing by its challenge.". This inquiry was done in 2005, it is now 2009 so its safe to assume that the Government is not willing to change the laws in light of the recommendations.

They say that they are using copyright laws to protect people from information that may be false. That is a poor argument. The public know this, they know that this is a service provided by a third party and that it may not be accurate. This works because if there are too many problems with it for what the consumer is happy to accept they will simply not use this. This is no excuse to stop people using/republishing/remixing facts.

I always thought that copyright laws were there in order to create incentive for the original creation of a creative work. Thought I think that this is more of a US constitutional or outdated view. I do not necessarily agree with this, and I don't think that is the sole reason we need copyright laws. But obviously that is not what the copyright laws are doing in this case.

I'm just hoping that the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy fixes crown copyright soon before this mess continues.

Tags: copyright, law.