APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2004-02 > 1076994170
From: "Gary Mokotoff (Optonline)" <>
Subject: [APG] Re: Copyrighting facts
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2004 00:03:10 -0500
The Supreme Court decided a number of years ago (Feist vs. Rural Telephone)
you cannot copyright facts. Therefore anyone can copy the data you acquire
and publish--not matter how difficult to acquire--but they cannot copy the
format. That is why the recent discussion where it is alleged someone
exactly copied the content and form of some genealogical data (on to CD)
would be a copyright infringement. Prior to the Court decision, facts that
were difficult to acquire (what was called "acquired by the sweat of the
brow") were considered copyrightable.
It is my understanding that some federal courts have backed down a bit from
this broad ruling. For example, if the facts were acquired selectively
requiring judgment on the part of the compiler, then that collection of
facts might be copyrightable.