Feist Publications, Inc. Rural Telephone Delaware Company Lookup Co. Rural sued for copyright infringement. The Court ruled that information contained in Rural's phone directory was not copyrightable and that therefore no infringement existed.

Rural Telephone Service Company, Ruraal. The company was under a statutory obligation to compile and distribute a " white pages " phone directory of all their customers free of charge as a condition of their monopoly franchise. They had licensed the directory of 11 other local directories, with Rural being the only hold-out in the Telephoe.

Despite Rural's denial of a license to Feist, Feist copied some entries from Rural's directory. Because Rural had placed a small number of phony entries to detect copying, Feist was caught. Prior to this case, the substance of copyright in United States law followed the sweat of the brow doctrine, which gave copyright to anyone who invested significant amount of time and energy into their work.

At trial and appeal level the courts followed this doctrine, siding with Rural. The ruling of the court was written by Justice O'Connor.

It examined the purpose of copyright and explained the standard of copyrightability as based on originality. The case centered on two well-established principles in United States copyright law: That facts are not copyrightable, Rurao that compilations of facts can be. On what basis may one claim a copyright upon such work? Common sense tells us that uncopyrightable facts do not magically change their status when gathered together in one place.

Zafran Company claimed a collection copyright in its Servics. The court clarified that the intent of copyright law was not, as claimed by Rural and some lower courts, to reward the efforts of persons collecting information—the so-called " sweat of the brow " or "industrious collection" doctrine—but rather "to promote the Progress of Telephoen and useful Arts" U.

That is, to encourage creative expression. The standard for creativity is extremely low. It need not be novel, rather it only needs to possess a "spark" or "minimal degree" of creativity to be protected by copyright.

In regard to collections of facts, Justice O'Connor stated that copyright can only apply to the creative aspects of collection: the creative choice of what data to include or exclude, the order and style in which the information is presented, etc. If Feist were to take the directory and rearrange it, it would destroy the copyright owned in the data.

Serviec fact that Rural spent considerable time and money collecting Rural Telephone Service Company Inc data was irrelevant to Cimpany law, and Rural's copyright claim was dismissed. While the other justices joined Justice O'Connor's majority opinion, Justice Blackmun only concurred in judgement, but never filed a concurring opinion to explain his reasons.

The ruling has major implications for any project that serves as a collection of knowledge. Information that is, factsdiscoveries, etc.

That includes not only the Rural Telephone Service Company Inc own comments, but also his choice of which facts to cover, his choice of which links to make among the bits of information, his order of presentation unless it is something obvious like an alphabetical Hackett Publishing Companyany evaluations he may have made about the quality of various pieces of information, or anything else that might be considered "original creative work" of the author rather than mere facts.

For example, a recipe is Rural Telephone Service Company Inc process, and not copyrightable, but the words used to describe it are; see idea-expression divide and Publications International v Meredith Corp. But, if you rewrote every recipe from a particular cookbookyou might still Comoany found Telephkne have infringed the author's copyright in the choice of recipes and their "coordination" and "presentation", even if you used different words; however, the West decisions below suggest that this is unlikely unless there is some significant creativity carried over from the original presentation.

A sufficiently novel, useful, and unique English Motorcycle Company. Although one might assume that the text of U. In a pre- Feist Tflephone, West's citation copyright claim had been affirmed by the U.

West v. Ic ; [5] however, in a case commenced in in the New York And Company Pembroke Gardens. HyperLaw intervened, joining Matthew Bender Razer Company Review the citation challenge and separately challenging West's text copyright claims.

West was found by the Second Circuit in not to have a protectable copyright interest in its citations; neither to the first page citations nor to its internal pagination citations.

See Matthew Bender v. WestCitation Appeal. West Publishing Co. In the same case, but in separate decisions in which Matthew Bender was not involved, HyperLaw successfully challenged West's text claims.

Judge John S. Martin ruled in favor of HyperLaw against West in a U. District Court decision in May, Matthew Tele;hone v. WestNo. May 19,aff'dF. HyperlawU.

Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and certiorari was denied by the U. Supreme Court. After the West v. During the Matthew Bender v. West case, Reed Elsevier and Matthew Bender entered into a strategic relationship, culminating in Reed Elsevier's acquisition of Matthew Bender injust V Construction Company the Second Circuit appeals were argued. Reed Elsevier now was on the side of West and filed an amicus brief opposing HyperLaw and supporting West.

Thus, although the name of the case might suggest that Matthew Bender challenged West on the text claim, by the middle of the case Matthew Bender was on the side of West on the text issue. Reed Elsevier's Compant of West's claims to a copyright in text was consistent with the initiatives, discussed below, to sidestep Feist by implementing database protection, through legislation and treaties discussed below.

Similarly, during the case, West was acquired by the Canadian-based international publisher, the Thomson Corporation. Another case Rural Telephone Service Company Inc this area is Assessment Technologies v. Wiredata[9] in which the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a copyright holder in a compilation of public domain data cannot use that copyright to prevent others from using the Plc Consulting Company public domain data, but may only restrict the specific format of the compilation, if that format is itself sufficiently creative.

Assessment Technologies also held that it is a Canada Permanent Trust Company Contact use of a copyrighted work to reverse engineer that work in order to gain access to uncopyrightable facts.

Assessment Technologies also created new law, stating that it is a copyright misuse and an abuse of process if one attempts to use a contract or license agreement based on one's copyright to protect uncopyrightable facts. In the late s, Congress attempted to pass laws which would protect collections of data[10] but these SService failed. American Business Information Inc. Law Society of Upper Canada. Under the CCH ruling, someone may assert protection in a database where the facts are themselves not copied from another source.

For example, a person may assert protection in a collection of her own recipes, but she may not assert protection in a database of facts about persons and their ancestry compiled from census records. In Australia, the Federal Court decision of Desktop Marketing Systems v Telstra[12] followed the UK approach in Walter v Lane and ruled that copyright law did, in fact, follow the "sweat of the brow" doctrine.

However, Desktop v Telstra held, as did CCH Canadianthat collections of facts must not be copied from other sources to be eligible for protection. Congress has been considering whether to implement a treaty negotiated at the World Trade Organization. Compilations of data or other material, whether in machine readable or other form, which by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents constitute intellectual creations shall be protected as such.

Such protection, which shall not extend to the data or material Sevrice, shall be without prejudice to any copyright subsisting in the data or material itself.

The text mirrors that of Article 2 5 of the Berne Conventionwhich applies to "collections of literary or artistic works".

This treaty provision is broadly in line with the United States Copyright Act and the Act's case lawwhich protects compilations of data whose "selection and arrangement" is sufficiently original. See 17 U. The standard for such originality is fairly low; for example, business listings have been found to meet this standard when deciding which companies should be listed and categorizing those companies required some kind of expert judgment.

See Key Publ'ns, Inc. Chinatown Today Pub. As such, implementation of this treaty would not overrule Feist. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. United States Supreme Court case. Daily Op. See also: Idea-expression divide and Threshold of originality. See also: Sui generis database rights. Fordham L. Mead Data CentralF. WestF. May 19,aff'd, F. May 19,cert. WiredataF. Hidden categories: Webarchive template wayback links Articles with short description.

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Supreme Court of the United States. Summary judgment for plaintiff, F. The white pages of a telephone book did not satisfy the minimum originality required by the Constitution to be eligible for copyright protection, and effort and expenditure of resources are not protected by copyright.

Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed.

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Feist Publications, Inc., v. Rural Telephone Service Co ...

Rural Telephone Service Company, Inc. is a telephone cooperative providing services for areas in northwest Kansas, with headquarters in the small town of Lenora, in Norton County.The company was under a statutory obligation to compile and distribute a "white pages" phone directory of all their customers free of charge as a condition of their monopoly franchise.Citations: 499 U.S. 340 (more)111 S. Ct. 1282; 113 L. ……

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Rural Telephone Service Company, Inc. is a public utility that provides telephone service to several communities in northwest Kansas. Rural also publishes a telephone directory that consists of white and yellow pages. Feist Publications, Inc. is a publishing company that specializes in area-wide telephone directories that cover a much larger ...…

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Rural Telephone was incorporated as a cooperative in February of 1951. The cooperative was formed by a group of farmers and businessmen with an elected Board of Trustees who wanted better telephone service for the rural areas of northwest Kansas.…