Appeals Court Says You Can Copyright A Collection Of Facts... If You Leave Out A Few
Art Law

Appeals Court Says You Can Copyright A Collection Of Facts… If You Leave Out A Few

The 9th Circuit is at it again with copyright. For whatever reason, when the 9th Circuit gets a copyright case, it frequently seems to mess everything up about it. This latest case — Experian v. Nationwide Marketing Services — is no exception. One of the most famous, and most important, copyright cases to hit the Supreme Court was the Feist case . We’ve mentioned it many times before. The short summary is that a phone book publisher had inserted a few "fake" names and numbers into its book to try to catch copycats. It found one, and sued for copyright infringement. The Supreme Court rejected it, noting that copyright does not apply to facts, and clearly rejecting any notion that mere "sweat of the brow" in collecting facts gives you a copyright. This was good. But… there was one part of the ruling that still left open the potential for mischief, and appeals courts have been making mischief in that loophole ever since. Here’s the issue: 17 USC 103 allows for copyright in "compilations," though it notes this copyright "only extends to" the creative input in making the compilation, and not the underlying works (whether they are covered by […]

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