On Fri, Oct 7, 2011 at 3:33 PM, Peter Geoghegan <pe...@2ndquadrant.com> wrote:
> On 7 October 2011 21:27, Bruce Momjian <br...@momjian.us> wrote:
>> Tom Lane wrote:
>>> It seems pretty baseless to me: you can't copyright a collection of
>>> facts.  I think we should do nothing pending a court decision.
>> Agreed.  I am just pointing out the possible exposure.
> The one interesting case that I can recall were this was tested was
> this (lifted from Wikipedia):
> In October 1984, Fred L. Worth, author of The Trivia Encyclopedia,
> Super Trivia, and Super Trivia II, filed a $300 million lawsuit
> against the distributors of Trivial Pursuit. He claimed that more than
> a quarter of the questions in the game's Genus Edition had been taken
> from his books, even to the point of reproducing typographical errors
> and deliberately placed misinformation. One of the questions in
> Trivial Pursuit was "What was Columbo's first name?" with the answer
> "Philip". That information had been fabricated to catch anyone who
> might try to violate his copyright.[5]
> The inventors of Trivial Pursuit acknowledged that Worth's books were
> among their sources, but argued that this was not improper and that
> facts are not protected by copyright. The district court judge agreed,
> ruling in favor of the Trivial Pursuit inventors. The decision was
> appealed, and in September 1987 the United States Court of Appeals for
> the Ninth Circuit upheld the ruling.[6] Worth asked the Supreme Court
> of the United States to review the case, but the Court declined,
> denying certiorari in March 1988.[7]
> IANAL, but this seems pretty conclusive to me...

Facts are not subject to copyright but compilations can be.  However,
the arrangement and presentation of the compilation has to be
sufficient to have merit protection.  For example, the SCOTUS denied
copywrite protection to phone books, which I think is entirely
relevant to this issue. (BUT INAL).


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