It's not all doom-and-gloom for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The MTA has released its route and schedule information, potentially allowing developers to create apps with accurate subway, commuter train, and bus timetables without facing as much of a risk of legal action from the agency.
The MTA — which just created a mobile version of its website — is giving away its data for free, StreetsBlog reports. But the agency is holding onto the intellectual property rights for its logos and maps, requiring developers to obtain licenses if they'd like to use the MTA's iconic letter and number symbols. According to the agency's site, "[r]evenues generated from licensing go back into our budget, helping provide services for our customers. If an MTA-approved app is provided to the public free of charge, MTA requires a license, but will not charge a license fee for the use of our intellectual property."
"We need to get out of our own way and instead get out in front of the data sharing revolution," said MTA Chair Jay Walder in a statement. "By making access to our data directly from our website, we are encouraging the developer community to do the work we can't to create apps that benefit our customers at no cost to the MTA." The information release is certainly a big step forward for the agency — which in the past had taken a strict position against app designers. Perhaps the agency will also relax its position on third-party countdown clock designers, because there are plenty of non-iPhone users who would love to know how late they're going to be.