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Old 08 January 2008, 05:51   #1
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Tide Tables petition

Someone called David Bartholomew recently managed to get a petition on to the Prime Minister's web site. This may well be of concern to all sailing people, or friends who go down to the sea in ships - small or otherwise. Please could you go to the following web site:

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Tidetable-data ,

and sign the petition. I believe that this data should be available to all in any form that they desire. Effectively it seems to me that the Government is trying to copyright a natural phenomenon. Move over Canute!



If you think it important enough, please could you forward the information on to your friends as well. The timescale for this petition is short, 11 Jan is the deadline - so please spare a few minutes to do this.
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Old 08 January 2008, 06:26   #2
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http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Tidetable-data ,

and sign the petition. I believe that this data should be available to all in any form that they desire. Effectively it seems to me that the Government is trying to copyright a natural phenomenon. Move over Canute!
Done.

The more I've been hunting for Gov info on the web, the more I've found that I have to pay for. If the Gov wants to run itself as a business, then it can stop taxing us. It shouldn't have it both ways.
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Old 08 January 2008, 06:34   #3
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Ditto ..... and sent to two local dive club members lists.
Thanks for notifying us of this
Jeff
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Old 08 January 2008, 06:54   #4
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Originally Posted by SeaSkills View Post
Someone called David Bartholomew recently managed to get a petition on to the Prime Minister's web site. This may well be of concern to all sailing people, or friends who go down to the sea in ships - small or otherwise. Please could you go to the following web site:

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Tidetable-data ,

and sign the petition. I believe that this data should be available to all in any form that they desire. Effectively it seems to me that the Government is trying to copyright a natural phenomenon. Move over Canute!



If you think it important enough, please could you forward the information on to your friends as well. The timescale for this petition is short, 11 Jan is the deadline - so please spare a few minutes to do this.
Ian, The petition is simply asking for the information to be made freely available - not for it to be free of copyright or other encumberances. I am not convinced there is actually a safety issue here.

If they make the data freely available without copyright then it would allow anyone who chose to, to take that data and use that for profit. They are not trying to copyright the phenomenon but they are protecting the crown's intellectual property in that if we (as tax payers) have paid for the data to be generated then it would be innaproptiate for a third party to exploit that for profit. Given the relatively low cost of a set of tide tables and the free information available on line there doesn't really seem to be an "issue" with access to the information.

There would be nothing to stop you independently measuring the harmonics informaion at your own expense (which would almost certainly be far more expensive and probably less accurate that the UKHO version). They don't own the physcial phenomenon just the data they have measured. Where do you draw the line - should charts be freely available?
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Old 08 January 2008, 07:21   #5
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Tend to agree with Polwart on this one. There is plenty of freely available tide data - UKHO's Easytide, almanacs, harbour offices, HMCG stations, etc.

I've a feeling that the tidal info collection part of UKHO is probably self funding - the almanac publishers, tide table printers, etc. will have all had to pay for the material they print. Making all of that freely available would actually increase the cost to the taxpayer of UKHO, as well as severely damaging a few companies' businesses, all of which contribute to the UK tax pot.

And tides are pretty much predictable over a set cycle, so it's not as if the info differs hugely from one year to the next.

Everything that the Govt provides "free" has a cost - either to the front end user or to the taxpayer in the form of subsidy. After all, the Government has no money of its own - everything is money taken from someone else. As someone who believes that Government should be as small, and cheap, as possible, I have no problem paying for specialist information.

Now of course the decent option would be to privatise the UKHO so no-one contributes to it at all, only those who need its services (but then that goes for the whole of government too!).
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Old 08 January 2008, 07:43   #6
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The problem with most of those examples that tidal data is only available freely for a few days in advance.

I'm actually not too bothered for myself - I have existing software for my own tidal calcs and will continue to use it, but I don't want to see costs increase because HMG has found another opportunity to pinch a bit extra money from us.

The UK is one of the few countries in the world where the harmonic variables used to calculate tide tables are deemed to be a copyright of the Crown. Currently the Government is requiring payment by any who wish to use and publish this data. This petition - as I understand it - simply asks that this data be made available to any who require it, and who wish to publish the results either on paper or electronically. If that increases competition, keeps prices down, and increases the availability of tidal info .... that sounds pretty good to me
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Old 08 January 2008, 07:47   #7
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The UK is one of the few countries in the world where the harmonic variables used to calculate tide tables are deemed to be a copyright of the Crown.
And this has only been the case for the last few years.

The reason that many people are aggrieved with the UKHO is that they have claimed ownership of data that was already in the public domain.

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Old 08 January 2008, 09:00   #8
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The reason that many people are aggrieved with the UKHO is that they have claimed ownership of data that was already in the public domain.

John
That's the case with most things this flaming government are involved in, on an ongoing basis. Road pricing is the classic example - being charged to use something we've already paid for.

I'm just worried they'll find a way of charging for air....
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Old 08 January 2008, 11:27   #9
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I'm just worried they'll find a way of charging for air....
That's already true isn't it?
Divers have to pay VAT on filling their bottles. This is explained by "not charging for the air itself, but rather for the service of condensing it into a bottle".
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Old 08 January 2008, 12:00   #10
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if we (as tax payers) have paid for the data to be generated then it would be innaproptiate for a third party to exploit that for profit.
How does that equate to the DVLA selling your personal details to people like privately owned car clamping and car parking companies?

I committed a minor motoring offence in Norway. (They should have their speed limit signs in MPH, not KPH and it's not my fault if they drive on the wrong side of the road) The DVLA sold my details to a private collection agency in England who are contracted by the Norwegian government to recover fines.

I was shopped by my own government to a bunch of money grabbing Vikings.
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