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Re: Copyright URLs not compilations

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Posted by Stephen L. Anderson on April 06, 2001 at 20:12:32:

In Reply to: Copyright URLs not compilations posted by Christina on April 05, 2001 at 18:00:47:

Copyright is a form of protection provided to authors of "original works of authorship", including literary, artistic, dramatic, musical, graphic arts and other creations.

Copyright protects the author's original creative expression as contained in the work but DOES NOT usually extend to any idea, procedure, process, method, system, discovery, name or short title or slogan.

Due to the shared nature of a BBS, and a lack of an attorney-client relationship, we do not offer specific legal advice.

Generally speaking however, we must first commend you for registering each of your original serial works of authorship for protection and we further rely on your representation that the works themselves were indeed created by your own "sweat equity" in preparing the compilation.

(For those of you at home reading this: Yes, even telephone directories may be registerable under the Copyright law to the extent that the compilation of materials placed in that particular order comes as the result of the author's independent creativity. Most certainly a serial publication which scoured the available public source data to provide useful URL information to a more limited source market is indeed a valuable service and CAN BE PROTECTED UNDER COPYRIGHT.)

For compilations however, such things as font and format become all the more important in establishing Copyright cases to judges and juries.

In some ways, I must also commend you on your instincts exhibited in your question because many people (albeit incorrectly) believe that if they change around a few things when copying someone else's work - that they are not infringers.

This so called 98% rule you suggest is not so far from what really happens however. For example, even the words I have posted herein will likely be recopied by some hungry sharks named ELAINE and it will cost me more in time and trouble to fight them then to do something about it. All too often in our "crowded world of words" it doesn't take long before some unimaginative thug with a "cut-n-paste" feature starts ripping you off, the cybersquatters move in, and then the metataggers start messing up the place.

For honest businessmen and women, the Internet is both a blessing and a curse.


In a case such as the you described, to prevail the Plaintiff must show two things: 1) the alleged infringer had "access" to the copyrighted materials. (This is sometimes demonstrated when the infringer copies mistakes and other inadvertent material - other times the dummys even admit to access and say things like
"I can also do it better and cheaper.") After all YOU did all the work ;O)

and 2)the end result of the infringing material bears a "SUBSTANTIAL SIMILARITY" to the copyrighted work; It doesn't have to meet the 98% test. Not even close. While Copyright does not protect ideas alone, plagiarism is not limited to an exact reproduction of the words, fonts and format of an earlier work.

As some Judges have described infringement: "I know it when I see it."

And YES, even an unauthorized derivative work is actionable.

Like trademark infringement, copyright infringement can be described as "passing off" the work, goodwill or effort of another as their own.

It amounts to unfair competition and can be enjoined by a competent court of law. Damages can be awarded and Internet pirates and infringers will be forced to pay.

For more information about copyrights and copyright protection, visit our site: www.copyrightpros.com - "We Protect Imagination"

Good Luck

Anderson & Shippey
"Intellectual Property Solutions for the New Millennium" (Sm)

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