[Talk-us] Public Domain Non-GPS Data Question

Richard Weait richard at weait.com
Thu Feb 26 17:56:11 GMT 2009

On Wed, 2009-02-25 at 01:04 -0500, Russ Nelson wrote:
> A good summary,Chris, and I incorporate your disclaimer by reference.   

Indeed.  Good work from both of you.  I incorporate the disclaimer and
compliment by reference.

> It's all very complicated, made more so by supreme court decisions  
> which make it clear that facts about the world are not subject to  
> copyright.  

This is talk-us and Russ is referring to the US Supreme Court.  The
pedant in me insists that we maintain our World focus and mention "Sweat
of the Brow".  

     "According to this doctrine, an author gains rights through 
      simple diligence during the creation of a work, such as a
      database, or a directory. Substantial creativity or origin-
      ality is not required."  [1]

While rejected in US courts, Sweat of the Brow gets lots of love from
the UK and Australian courts.  In Canada the Sweat of the Brow concept
appears to be losing favour to "skill and judgement" and/or a "spark of

So very approximately, in the US a phone book can't be copyright. In the
UK it can by sweat of the brow.  In Canada it can't, unless you sort the
numbers by height of the owner exhibiting creativity but little
judgement.  ;-) 

Best regards,

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweat_of_the_brow
[2] http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1302470

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