Issue No. 06 - November-December (2003 vol. 1)
Michael Lesk , Rutgers University
<p>The US Congress is now considering the Database and Collections of Information Misappropriations Act (HR 3261), which is intended to provide federal protection for businesses that collect, publish, and sell databases. Until 1991, it was generally possible in the US to copyright databases, even of relatively routine information arranged in boring and obvious ways. Then the Supreme Court, ruling in Feist v. Rural Telephone Service, decided that white pages phone listings couldn?t be copyrighted. The court held that copyright is intended to protect ?creative acts? and that alphabetizing names wasn?t such an act. The Feist decision rejected the traditional view that ?sweat of the brow? labor was enough to justify copyright.</p>
M. Lesk, "Feist and Facts: If Data Is Protected, Will It Be More or Less Available?," in IEEE Security & Privacy, vol. 1, no. , pp. 68-70, 2003.