Re: xearth debian developer database decision
Dale Scheetz <email@example.com> writes:
> On Wed, 12 Nov 1997, Brian White wrote:
> > As far as I understand it, "data" cannot be copyrighted. It is always
> > public domain. However, you can copyright a "collection of data".
> The Telephone Book has a copyright (for mine it's copyright SPRINT, YMMV),
> so it should be clear the collection can be protected by copyright. What
> isn't clear is the protection any given individual has from having
> "personal" information in public repositories. The phone company deals
> with this by issuing "unlisted" numbers, which it "doesn't publish".
Your telephone book may contain a copyright notice, but the
compilation of names and addresses in it are most likely not protected
under US copyright law --- see Feist Publications Inc. v. Rural
Telephone Service, Co., 111 S. Ct. 1282 (1991), or Bellsouth
Advertising & Publishing Corp. v. Donnelley Information Publishing,
Inc., 999 F.2d 1436 (11th Cir. 1993). These decisions are commonly
believed to cover similar situations such as magazine subscription
lists, alumni databases, etc.
A quote by Justice O'Connor in Feist. v. Rural Telephone:
Rural's white pages do not meet the constitutional or statutory
requirements for copyright protection. While Rural has a valid
copyright in the directory as a whole because it contains some forward
text and some original material in the yellow pages, there is nothing
original in Rural's white pages. The raw data are uncopyrightable
facts, and the way in which Rural selected, coordinated, and arranged
those facts is not original in any way. Rural's selection of listings
--- subscribers' names, towns, and telephone numbers --- could not be
more obvious and lacks the modicum of creativity necessary to
transform mere selection into copyrightable expression.
Legal particularities notwithstanding, I agree with Dale that the
fundamental issue here is privacy and the wishes of the developers,
not copyright. It's important that we honor the wishes of each of our
developers simply as a matter of courtesy and respect, regardless of
what our legal requirements may or may not be.
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