EDIT: The registered copyright they're referring to is here:
# From Paul Eggert (2006-03-22):
# A good source for time zone historical data in the US is
# Thomas G. Shanks, The American Atlas (5th edition),
# San Diego: ACS Publications, Inc. (1991).
# Make sure you have the errata sheet; the book is somewhat useless without it.
# It is the source for most of the pre-1991 US entries below.
# From Paul Eggert (2006-03-22):
# A good source for time zone historical data outside the U.S. is
# Thomas G. Shanks and Rique Pottenger, The International Atlas (6th edition),
# San Diego: ACS Publications, Inc. (2003).
That's correct. Supreme Court decision. Said decision is the reason why you occasionally read news articles about the U.S. considering some form of database protection laws - to make those databases protectable under law (and therefore to make this lawsuit legitimate).
Then there's the openOV project, a new project bringing together data from lots of sources and talking to lots of transport companies and agencies. Most transport tenders include a clause requiring data to be supplied to "national journey planners", so there's hope. Just today they're working on GTFS feeds for most of the Netherlands.
The Dutch Railways (NS) now has an API but it's mainly consumer facing data, and nothing truely helpful.
tl;dr: Our transit APIs are stuck in 2005 but making headway.
These atlases set forth interpretations of historical
time zone information pertaining to innumerable locations
throughout the world, based upon the compilation of
historical research and documentation regarding
applicable time zones officially and/or in actuality in
effect, given the actual latitude and longitudes of
specific locations throughout the world.
# From Paul Eggert (2006-03-22): Shanks & Pottenger give 1918-06-16 and
# 1945-11-18, but the Austrian Federal Office of Metrology and
# Surveying (BEV) gives 1918-09-16 and for Vienna gives the "alleged"
# date of 1945-04-12 with no time. For the 1980-04-06 transition
# Shanks & Pottenger give 02:00, the BEV 00:00. Go with the BEV,
# and guess 02:00 for 1945-04-12.
Legal attacks don't have to have merit to be successful.
I wonder how this really _impacts_ ACS Publications. If they're just defending their work for the sake of exercising their copyright, perhaps they should have chosen to license the work to the DB. Especially considering the volunteer effort that the freely available Olsen TZ DB has been.
I'm not saying its right or wrong. Just pointing out they can absolutely show lost revenue.
ETA: and here is a link to the complaint:
I've seen this DB pop up a few times in my trials of having to deal with implementing timezone support, and it seemed like it was always referred to as the defacto standard lookup for TZ info...
As another poster mentions, Timezones are constantly in flux, especially DST rules, and so for this guy to spend his time keeping it maintained is an incredible service to the community. If you've never had to work with them, consider yourself lucky (and start learning now - cus you will sooner or later).
Any information on exactly what the lawsuit is actually about?
IBM, Oracle, Apple, Google. There's your $500bn in market capitalization right there.
If you want to set up a mirror yourself, to help spread around the data all over the world, have a look here: