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Re: [dvd-discuss] Re: [dvd-discuss digest Aug.] V #9

Another point is how do you tell the difference between someone who takes 
the "white pages" or something similar and copies it versus somebody who 
compiles the information themselves? A complete listing of phone numbers 
and names arranged alphabetically, by zip code, by number will always 
produce the same result. Neither does the mere accumulation of data 
produce information (indeed it can reduce it) or knowledge. The more I 
think about Eldred, the more I think it is probably the most significant 
case involving copyright ever. What it is asking the USSC to decide if the 
purpose of copyright is to provide protection to encourge the CREATION of 
copyright material or if it is to provide mere protectionism to people 
undeserving because they do not create or truly advance.

Michael Sims <jellicle@inch.com>
Sent by: owner-dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
08/13/2002 06:08 AM
Please respond to dvd-discuss

        To:     dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
        Subject:        [dvd-discuss] Re: [dvd-discuss digest Aug.] V #9

Richard Hartman wrote:

> Exactly, neither the facts nor the formatting
> can be copyright (like the phone book).  But the
> _work_ put into creating that listing of information
> is still of value in and of itself.  That is to say,
> if you wanted to publish a rival phone book you would
> have to compile your own listing & not just run off
> copies of the latest Pac Bell book, right?

Yes and no.  There's enough original stuff in the yellow pages that you 
couldn't just duplicate it.  But the white pages contain basically name, 
address and phone number - there isn't any significant amount of 
originality there.  You could scan all the data in, typeset it yourself, 
and republish the exact same data in your own phonebook (do your own 
cover, own introductory blurbs at the front of the book, etc.).

Phone companies aren't the only ones who publish non-original 
accumulations of data.  Companies who do so have been seeking to get a 
pseudo-copyright law passed that would protect these data accumulations. 
While it may seem reasonable at first glance (someone spent some effort 
on accumulating this data, why shouldn't it be protected by law?), there 
are many many good reasons to oppose such a law.  Imagine if the periodic 
table of the elements was protected by such a law and every chemist, 
physicist and student in the world had to pay each and every time they 
needed to know the atomic weight of hydrogen.

Michael Sims