[Open-transport] Public Transport schedules in Europe: legal question

Pieter Colpaert pieter.colpaert at okfn.org
Thu Oct 9 12:49:51 UTC 2014

Dear all,

A legal question: are public transit schedules copyrightable?

So there are two parts as this is a "database":

1. Copyright

Has there been a "creative" aspect to these schedules?
  → One could say yes from the urban planning perspective: the team that 
created the optimal schedule for that situation has created a time 
schedule that can be copyrighted
  → One could say no from the customer informing perspective: the data 
are a logical consequence of vehicles arriving and leaving.

2. Sui generis

When compiling a database with the time schedules, there is an 
investment made. Yet, that investment is needed in any case as they need 
it to operate their public transport network. So there is no sui generis 
law applicable?

When in doubt, it seems good to choose the best option for our case, 
which is saying: public transit schedules cannot be protected. This is 
also the case for for instance the white pages or the results of a lottery.

If agreed, we should make a strong statement with Open Knowledge Open 
Transport, and for instance, make sure the question "are transport 
timetables openly licensed?" in the census 
(http://global.census.okfn.org/) dissapears.

What do you think?

Kind regards,



+32 486 74 71 22

Open Knowledge Foundation Belgium

Open Transport Working Group OKFN

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