The copyrightability of factual compilations: an interpretation of Feist through cases of maps and numbers
Compilations of factual data are not copyrightable unless they meet the copyright threshold established by the US Supreme Court in the 1991 Feist case. That case, which centered on a telephone directory, suggested merely functional compilations cannot receive copyright protection. However, circuit court applications of Feist have proven problematic, since the ruling left unsettled the amount of originality and creativity necessary. The maps granted protection in the 1992 Mason case do not appear to meet this standard. Conversely, the predictive valuation data in the 1994 CCC Information Services required creative skills and effort to meet the Feist threshold.
Publication Name: Annual Survey of American Law
U.S. fails to guard data base henhouse; other nations seek to protect compilations of facts, but Congress lays an egg in failing to take up legislation to circumvent 'Feist.'(Legal Tech)
The US has not followed other countries' lead in passing legislation on the copyrightability of compilations of facts. The European Union made an attempt with its Directive on the Legal Protection of Databases, and is looking for further ways to protect data bases without invalidating the concept of the nonprotectability of facts. Other countries may be reluctant to transport proprietary data to the US via the Internet if they risk losing such data to the public domain, and the reciprocity principle also holds true. The US Congress should consider special legislation on data bases.
Publication Name: The National Law Journal
Compilations and the AFC test
The abstraction-filtration-comparison (AFC) test employed by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Computer Associates International v. Altai, Inc. needs to be modified to comport with the Supreme Court's ruling in Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service. The Supreme Court found that compilations of public domain data can be copyrightable, but application of the AFC test would appear to suggest otherwise. The AFC test needs to be modified by being applied twice, first to the work as a whole and second with a focus on compilation expression.
Publication Name: Journal of the Patent and Trademark Office Society
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