Tz Database lawsuit dismissed, no copyright for the rising Sun yet

Astrology software producer Astrolabe won’t be granted with copyright on the rising Sun: the lawsuit brought against the maintainers of the Time Zone Database has been dismissed, while the USA company pledged not to try suing anyone again on the same matter.

Maintained since 1986 by Arthur David Olson and Paul Eggert, the tz database hosts an on-line reference-copy of world wide time zones including daylight saving time, a record of historical time zones since the Seventies and other related information.

The database is updated several times per years according to changes to the world time zones, and many software programs and operating systems (mostly Unix and Linux based ones) rely on it for accurate time settings. Astrolabe sued Olson and Eggert in September 2011, seemingly because the tz database contained information from an atlas that the company considered its own copyrighted stuff.

Given the importance of the tz project and the many infrastructures relying on it, leading institutions and organizations moved to defend it against the attack brought by Astrolabe: the Electronic Frontier Foundation backed Olson and Eggert legal defence, while the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) put the database on a server belonging to IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) to assure its non-stop on-line availability.

Now the EFF reports that Astrolabe has dismissed the lawsuit, apologizing for the disruption caused to the volunteers who maintain the TZ database and to the Internet users overall. “Astrolabe’s lawsuit against Mr. Olson and Mr. Eggert was based on a flawed understanding of the law – the company states – We now recognize that historical facts are no one’s property and, accordingly, are withdrawing our Complaint”. So no copyright granted on the rising Sun, yet.

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