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Facts are not copyrightable

Facts are not copyrightable

Posted Feb 16, 2012 17:40 UTC (Thu) by dneary (subscriber, #55185)
In reply to: Facts are not copyrightable by Seegras
Parent article: Gray areas in software licensing

> There is a solid argument that it's not. These are rules for a language.
> And there obviously is NO creativity involved, it's just a compilation of
> facts about the language. Of course it's work to produce a dictionary, but
> that's not a criterion for copyrightability.
> IANAL, but according to my understanding of swiss, german and US-law, I'd
> say you're on pretty good ground by assuming its not copyrightable. Maybe ;)

I don't want to disagree with you for the sake of it, but the threshold in the US for "originality" is very low. For example, creating a list with some non-deterministic ordering would be enough. For a dictionary, the definitions of the words would clearly be original work.

There's a decent wikipedia article on this I'd recommend you read. It's fascinating: - one example cited in that article is a newspaper in the UK which asserted copyright on a speech they had transcribed and published - based on the amount of work which had gone into the transcription.

So while "maybe" is still the right answer, in this particular case, I would not bet on any court deciding that a Hunspell dictionary is not copyrightable.

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