Ownership of Bus Arrival Data Disputed

The story of how an iPhone application charting public transit arrival times led to as-yet-unanswered questions about who owns this public data -- or whether it can be owned at all.
June 29, 2009, 7am PDT | Nate Berg
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The developer who created the application was confronted by someone claiming to own the distribution rights to bus location and arrival times being tracked through transponders installed by a private company.

"After Orloff made his shutdown demand, Peterson did a little digging of his own, and realized that though the company Orloff spoke for, NextBus Information Systems, shared a name with NextBus, the arrival-prediction company responsible for giving you news like "Next 33-Stanyan in 148 minutes," the affiliation between the companies was tenuous, at best. He called Orloff's bluff, told him he had no right to shut Routesy down, and the conversation seemed to be over.

That is, until Orloff reared his head again about two weeks ago."

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Published on Thursday, June 25, 2009 in SF Appeal
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