Astrologers who claimed copyright on timezones apologize, drop lawsuit -- EFF declares victory!

A heartening development in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's ongoing effort to secure the Internet's timezone database, which was threatened when an astrology software company called Astrolabe claimed a copyright in the arrangement of the world's timezones. After EFF sought sanctions against the company's lawyers, the company dropped the suit, apologized, and signed a "covenant not to sue."

In a statement, Astrolabe said, "Astrolabe's lawsuit against Mr. Olson and Mr. Eggert was based on a flawed understanding of the law. We now recognize that historical facts are no one's property and, accordingly, are withdrawing our Complaint. We deeply regret the disruption that our lawsuit caused for the volunteers who maintain the TZ database, and for Internet users."

EFF Wins Protection for Time Zone Database



  1. That’s an awfully strongly-worded apology  for something already at the point of a legal proceeding.  Are they paying EFF’s costs, too?

  2. Misunderstanding of the law!!??  How about a complete, total and epic fail on the ability to understand anything with numbers.  That sounds a whole lot more accurate to me.

  3. I think people are getting a little ridiculous with copyrighting and trademarking every little thing.  Apparently Beyonce and Jay-z copyrighted their daughter’s name “Blue Ivy.”  Really?  Is it really necessary? 

    1.  I’d just like the rights to the number 0 or 1.  Btw, this is why Intel named it’s (old) cpu the “Pentium”.  Intel took AMD to court saying “oh no… ‘586’ belongs to us”.  And, of course, the judge laughed them out of court.  And that’s why the Pentium has a “proper” name instead of a number.

          1. As in, 101 through 109, 201 through 209, so on, so on, all the way through 909.

            It’s why the Porsche 911 is called the 911, and not its original development name, the 901. Peugeot sued when Porsche showed the 901 at an auto show, and Porsche quickly renamed it.

  4. The astrological signs in daily newspaper listings and in horoscopes are based on where the signs of the zodiac were 2000 years ago. In the interval the Zodiac  has acquired a 13th sign. Whatever you say is your sign is wrong. A few astrologers deal with the signs as they are today. But no matter what they do it is still just fleecing of the gullible.  

  5. If Astrolabe’s lawyers really have such a weak grasp on the law, maybe they should take their law degrees back to Wal-Mart for a refund.

    More likely, though, they just wanted to get in on the IP troll, get-rich-quick action.

  6. The sign of a good company (or a good person!) is not that they don’t screw up – it’s that they do the right thing once they have done so.

    Almost always, the right thing is a public apology, acknowledging the wrongs done and explaining what you’re gonna do about it.

  7. Well, its just the consequence of what Astrology is all about. Therefore who believes astrology to be something, believes a lot other strange things too, even owning things nobody can own. But even many big companies do that nowadays.

  8. Oh boy are they in trouble now; I have a patent on the whole apologizing and expressing regrets to volunteers business method.


  9.   >We deeply regret the disruption that our lawsuit caused for the volunteers who maintain the TZ database, and for Internet users.

    translation:  “we thought we could profit by tricking a judge into granting us a  copyright on a natural phenomenon, but we got called out on our bullshit.  please do not DDOS us, internet.”

    all my rage.

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