Our Metro-North blogging brethren StationStops, who’s gotten considerable ink/face time for his spat with the MTA over his iPhone app offering real-time schedule information, says the row continues. At the heart of the issue is whether or not the MTA owns its schedule information, and whether an independent blogger/app creator can make money by formatting and selling such information.
StationStops mastermind Chris Schoenfeld says the MTA is holding out for a 10% cut of his royalties garnered between the app’s launch date and the time Schoenfeld and the MTA commenced a licensing discussion with the railroad–about $170.
StationStops for iPhone is in compliance with a newly-released MTA licensing policy document. In the document, developers who collect the schedule data themselves and put an MTA-approved disclaimer on their app do not need to have a license with MTA or pay royalties. StationStops has identified this to MTA and requested that the MTA retract the cease and desist to Apple in writing so Apple will return StationStops to the iTunes store. MTA has told StationStops that they will only retract the cease and desist when StationStops agrees to pay 10% of StationStops sales between the time it launched (Oct. 21, 2008), and the time MTA first entered into licensing discussions with StationStops (Dec. 18, 2008). Their argument is that, during that sales period, the existing disclaimer language for the application: ‘Not affiliated with MTA’ Was insufficient, and StationStops needs to pay royalties during that sales period. Although StationStops has always expressed willingness to change disclaimer language in good faith with MTA – and has done so – it rejects the claim that our original disclaimer was insufficient, and has not to date paid the royalty amount in question, which is approximately $170.
In addition, that claim by MTA is not what is asserted in MTA’s cease and desist to Apple, which is now invalid, and StationStops has requested that the cease and desist be retracted in writing, with the $170 being a completely unrelated discussion.