On Fri, Oct 7, 2011 at 10:10 PM, Merlin Moncure <mmonc...@gmail.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.
>> 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.
> Facts are not subject to copyright but compilations can be.

I know it's popular for engineers to play lawyer and I've been guilty
of it on many an occasion. But in this case I think you're all *way*
oversimplifying the situation and I don't think it's within our ken to
be able to come to any clear conclusion.

a) Both the trivial pursuit case and the Feist predate a major change
to US copyright statutes -- the DMCA. The DMCA implemented the WIPO
Copyright Treaty which specifically addressed database compilation
copyrights. I do not know how to interpret the language of the DMCA on
this and frankly I'm not sure anybody knows since I don't know if
there have been any major cases under it yet. If my guess is right the
relevant section is 17 U.S.C. §§ 103.

I'm not clear that a compilation that was made prior to the DMCA can
suddenly acquire copyrights when if it had none before though.

b) Both of these cases are US cases. Copyright law varies heavily from
country to country despite the Berne and WIPO treaties.

c) I don't think that resolving whether the Olson database would be
covered even under Feist is so crystal clear as you guys make it out
to be. *After* Feist but before the DMCA courts ruled in various cases
that phone books and even a baseball score card *did* have enough
originality to qualify for copyright.

All that said I think this is far murkier than you all seem to think.
Copyright law is one of the most complex areas of the law and this is
one of the least well defined parts of copyright law.


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