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TfL Legal Threats Shut Down London Underground Parody Sign Website

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TfL gets the lawyers involved to take down popular website where users could create parody London Underground signs

The maker of a website that allowed users to create their very own signs that imitated those used by London Underground stations across the capital has been forced to take down the service following legal threats from Transport for London lawyers.

Creator Tim Waters, a maps and geospatial developer, said yesterday on his Twitter account: “I’ve been asked by a lawyer from TFL to take down my funny website tubesign.herokuapp.com.”

Waters suggested that the threats may have been the result of a recent high profile fake sign that went viral following the Leytonstone Underground knife attack last week.

london underground
A fake sign created on December 8 telling Donald Trump to “F**K OFF”

A user created a fake sign which carried the viral phrase “#Youaintnomuslimbruv”, a phrase heard spoken by a bystander in a video clip of the attack, which took place on Saturday December 5.

The image received thousands of shares on social media websites Twitter and Facebook, many users believing the message was real.

A Transport for London spokesperson told TechWeekEurope: “We have asked the website owner not to use the image of a London Underground customer information sign in this way. It may not have been their intention, but we believe the images created by people using this site have the potential to cause harm and distress to passengers or members of the public who see them.  There are instances where they have contained racially offensive messages.”

“In other words – it’s due to fear,” said Waters, alluding to the fact TfL may have been worried people who thought the fake sign was real would believe TfL was engaging in political debate.

“They state it’s the wording of some signs, and people not knowing it’s fake, and poss the use of the TfL roundel in image,” continued Waters.

Waters has also been forced to remove the code, which was always open source, from code repository GitHub.

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