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April 30, 2009


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Ted Major

Fictionalizing makes for a fun easter egg hunt, but Mountweazelling can't foil "copyright pirates" who "steal" facts: copyright doesn't apply to information, at least here in the US. In Feist Publications, Inc., v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 499 U.S. 340 (1991), Rural sued for CR infringement when Feist copied their phone book, including fake entries. Rural lost, as facts aren't copyrightable.

"Protecting copyright" may give cover to editors who want to play games in their works (and good for them!), but unless some original expression of those facts was also copied, there's not really anything that a cartographer, lexicographer, or encyclopedist can do, other than make fun of the copier.

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