NOTE: COPYRIGHT PROTECTION FOR FACTUAL COMPILATIONS -- REVIVING THE MISAPPROPRIATION DOCTRINE. Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1988 Fordham Law Review
Fordham Law Review

NOTE: COPYRIGHT PROTECTION FOR FACTUAL COMPILATIONS -- REVIVING THE MISAPPROPRIATION DOCTRINE.

April, 1988

56 Fordham L. Rev. 933

Author

Sarah Lum

Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

A telephone directory generally is not thought to exist in the same category of intellectual property 1 as a book of memoirs. Nevertheless, the copyright law of the United States Code protects them both 2 as "literary works," 3 even though one merely lists names, while the other conveys nonfiction narrative of historical importance.

Federal copyright law has extended protection to compilations of facts since 1790, when Congress passed the first copyright statute, 4 pursuant to the copyright and patent clause of the Constitution. 5 The term "compilations," however, was not statutorily defined until Congress passed the 1976 Copyright Act, 6 which describes a compilation as "a work formed by the collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that are selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship." 7 Compilations of fact include works such as directories, maps, catalogs and indexes. 8

Despite this long history of copyright protection for compilations, considerable confusion persists regarding the standards required for copyright protection of factual compilations. 9 The controversy centers on whether a compiler's labor alone supplies a sufficient basis for copyright protection, 10 or whether other criteria, such as arrangement or selection of the facts in the compilation, constitute the sole determinants of eligibility for such protection. 11 The disagreement over protection for labor also pervades the case law addressing the extent of protection 12 afforded to copyrightable compilations, ...
 
 
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