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Berlin bans handy iPhone metro app

Dutch Rail not happy either

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Berlin public transportation company BVG has banned a popular iPhone application which helps to navigate the city's vast metro system with over 170 stations.

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands Dutch Rail is threatening a student who developed a nifty train timetable for the iPhone. Both BVG and Dutch Rail claim the apps violate their copyright.

The German iPhone App Fahr-Info-Berlin was developed by 21-year-old student Jonas Witt, and has been downloaded over 20,000 times from the iTunes App Store since it first appeared in July.

When BVG began to notice its popularity, it told Witt to remove the app from iTunes because of copyright issues. BVG also said it plans to develop its own version of the application soon.

The NS (Dutch railways) is also not pleased with the Dutch iPhone application Trein (Train) developed by IT student Dennis Stevense. The app, which costs a mere €2.39, uses the Dutch Rail timetable database on the web. So far, the app is still available.

A Dutch copyright lawyer believes train schedule information may not qualify for database or copyright protection. NS says it also introduced its own iPhone app.

Undeterred, Witt has announced a new iPhone application that can be downloaded directly, rather than through the App Store. This time, Witt will get his data from OpenStreetMap, which can be used freely under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 licence. ®

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