Tide Tables. Copyright and Safety

Year ago, I used to use a Palm Pilot with an application to tell me the tide times at various locations in Ireland. I also had a Windows program called Wxtide that displayed the Irish tides.

Both however were changed such that the tides for Ireland and the UK were no longer available.

When I looked into it, I discovered the harmonics used to calculate the Irish Tide Tibles are actually under copyright to the UK Hydrobaric Office under control of the UK Admiralty, who will not release them for non-profit making uses, so they cannot be used in a public domain or fair use manner.

This is one of the best examples that I know of how DMCA and modern interpretations of copyright supersede what should be fair cultural use, something that you wouldn’t expect to be relevant to open water swimming.

For about the past eight years WxTide32 has not had the relevant Ireland and UK data. However, in order to provide safety data, some people (cough) maintain a working version of Wxtide32 with all the data. Should you need a copy, PM me and I’m sure I’ll be able to find a link to a working version.

Next time you listen to the usual one-sided diatribe about digital pirating on the radio or in the broadsheets, please recall that there are some people who ethically choose to be digital pirates because we believe the Copyright and Fair Use policies no longer achieve what they were designed for, which was to protect CULTURAL USE as well as business income.

(WxTide is a Windows program, but works fine under Wine 1.0 in Linux.)

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