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Do You Have A License For Those Facts?

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the balancing-rights-and-benefits dept.

Data Storage 525

spikedvodka writes "Wired is reporting that the "Database and Collections of Information Misappropriation Act (HR3261)" is under consideration. It passed the house Judiciary Committee, and is on it's way to the Commerce Committee. This bill would allow companies to copyright databases. (Think phone-number databases) and goes directly against the idea that nobody can own a fact." (See this earlier posting.)

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Don't forget... (-1)

SCO$699FeeTroll (695565) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455438) pay your $699 licensing fee you cock-smoking teabaggers.

You deserve to be spit upon publicly. (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455589)

You yellow-bellied bastard.

Easiest way out... (5, Funny)

ajiva (156759) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455447)

So all I have to do is "Download the Internet" as Comcast's ads claim, then I can OWN the internet! Woohoo, where's my multi-terebyte disk array!

Re:Easiest way out... (4, Funny)

Newspimp (723202) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455608)

Probably next to the multi terabyte array. :)

More info.. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455451)

at LISNews [] (kind of the /. for librarians...)

Careful... (5, Funny)

eurleif (613257) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455455)

Does /. have the legal right to talk about this bill? I mean, that fact might be copyrighted!

Re:Careful... (4, Funny)

frodo from middle ea (602941) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455701)

The fact , that a fact can be copyrighted , is in fact quite frightening.

aPPLE FAGS!!! GO FUCK YOURSELVES!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455456)

aPPLE mac users are GAYS!!! Yikes!!! Go fuck youself mac users!!!

HOMOSexuals fancy apple design shit hardware. See how much I disrespect apple - I write apple without capital a.

First Mod? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455457)

Wow, that was quick

We don't want to pay for anything!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455460)

We don't want to pay for anything!!!! I wonder why I can't find a job.

Hmms... (5, Interesting)

andreMA (643885) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455462)

If I'm called to testify under oath in a court, can I refuse to answer any question I wish because I can't know if the facts as I relate them might be some 3rd party's IP?

Can I demand an immunity deal as a condition of testifying at all?

The nature of existence (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455463)

We know, or at least we think we know, that at one point in time, the Universe was just energy and matter floating around in space. That energy and matter eventually formed the solar system and life appeared here on Earth.

Then a special form of life appeared, in short, humans appeared. A species distinguished from all other forms of life on Earth in that it had a consciousness, an awareness of its own existence, a form of life that was driven and influenced, but not controlled solely by its instinct...

We have large brains

...Let's think about that for a second. Although it took millions, if not billions of years to occur, the Universe spontaneously went from a mixture of energy and matter to the formation of a brain, becoming consciously aware of itself. I find that to be interesting, or more accurately, the Universe finds that to be interesting. In summation...

Energy & Matter -----> (The Universe)

Brain ----------------> (Spontaneously formed in the Universe)

Awareness-----------> (The Universe is self aware)

What I find interesting isn't so much that the Universe is of an intelligent design, but rather it is intelligent in nature and that that intelligence is embodied in each of our brains. Each of us represents a node, part of a collective intelligence that represents the Universe becoming aware of itself... a collective consciousness if you like. So while those who believe in some sort of deity will argue that the Universe is a creation of God... an intelligent design, there is no evidence to support nor discredit this theory and so it is simply a matter of faith. You choose to accept it or deny it or admit you don't know... but because of this discrepancy in views, we can conclude the Universe is unsure if there is a God. The Universe hasn't become aware of that fact because there is no evidence and people have differing views, or maybe this collective consciousness is God, distributed in each of us.


Here is piece of knowledge we have about the Universe. The speed of light is 299 792 458 m/s. Our brain is aware of this fact. Our brain, according to my reasoning above is also a part of the Universe. So I can only conclude that the Universe is self aware.

While we may disagree on much, in all countries/cultures/religions, 2+2=4. The laws governing the Universe are the things we can agree on, the basis of our collective consciousness and the beginnings of the Universe becoming self aware.

Here I will make the assumption, a correct one I believe, that if something does not exist it cannot have a purpose or a meaning.

I also assume that we do exist...

"Cogito ergo sum" (I think therefore I am). -Rene' Descartes

...and so this forces me to ask two different questions. What is the purpose of life and what is the meaning of life.

The first question if easily answered. The purpose of life is to make more life, to procreate. If we cease to do this, life ceases to exist and therefore it cannot have a purpose. So if the purpose of life is to make more life, what is the meaning of life?

This question was a little more difficult to answer. Life is just one form of existence, but one that was able to develop a self awareness. While there are many life forms known to exist, the cognitive ability of our brain suggest there is more to life than eating, shitting and mating as all life form do, that is the purpose of life. I don't think life has a meaning, it is simply a form of existance, but the meaning of existence must therefore be to learn as much as we can, to gain knowledge, to improve our brains so that the Universe can better understand itself.

So what's to come... well if the meaning of existence, is to learn as much as we can, and the current form is what we call life, then artificial neural networks (intelligence) could be the next logical step in the evolution of existence... creations that can remember more and compute things faster than humans are capable, systems that are also self aware, making the Universe more self aware. To add to the list I created above...

Energy & Matter -----> (The Universe)

Brain ----------------> (Spontaneously formed in the Universe)

Artifical Brain --------> (Much more powerful and efficient, also spontaneously formed)

Awareness-----------> (The Universe is even more self aware)

...and so in the big scheme of things, the Universe has gone from Energy and Matter to an advanced, long lasting consciousness in what we would call an "artificial brain" which spontaneously formed in the Universe because we spontaneously formed in the Universe. An evolution in existence.


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455726)

The parent post contains "$cientology". Beware!

*insert obligatory tinfoil hat joke here* (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455464)

aaagh now my life can be copyrighted....but I'm posting anonymously so I'm safe, right? :-) all nice and secure in my anonymity....

line starts here.... (4, Funny)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455465)

I can see it now. An office with 2 lines. The first to file you copyright and the second to file a lawsuit against someone for violating your new copyright.

copyrights? (2, Insightful)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455471)

Who has the copyright to copyright a copyright? :P

Geez. This really is getting out of hand. Copyrights (despite the fact that scholars have said that copyrights are getting out of hand) being handed out, crazy patents, SCO's antics, the DMCA, Patriot Act..

Are we legislating ourselves out of existance faster than we know it?

Re:copyrights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455530)

who needs wars to destroy a nation when you can watch them do it themselves

i hear China is nice this time of year

No, we're (1)

Ajent420 (746839) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455538)

legislating our selves into a ridiculous shit can (i.e rabit hole) that I'm sure looks stellar to any one out side of the U.S.

Hate to sound like a broken record, but: (2, Insightful)

Atario (673917) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455670)

IP laws (and the agencies responsible for them) are broken and badly need fixing.

The problem will get worse before it gets better.

Absolutely ridiculous (5, Insightful)

neilcSD (743335) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455472)

Corporations will squeeze every last damn cent they can out of anyone. When will the government stop this capitalism run amok? I'm all for corporations making profits, and the government helping protect this, but what is happening is that the small guy (consumers and small businesses who don't have millions of dollars to blow on lawsuits) gets hurt.

Re:Absolutely ridiculous (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455609)

Don't confuse capitalism with protectionism. I believe this law is clearly an example of the former rather than the latter.

Re:Absolutely ridiculous (4, Insightful)

ScooterBill (599835) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455611)

The copyright idea has been corrupted far beyond it's original intent. That is, to protect creators of original work for a period of time to allow them to realize the fruits of their labor.

What's wrong here is that a phone book, for instance, is already protected under the law. You can't just take an existing database and republish it exactly as is. What you can do is gather the same set of data and publish this in your own format. This is consistent with the intent of protect original work.

The more insidious problem is that those who have the money and influence will control the data.

What will be interesting is how the overlap between corporate databases is resolved. Does an email list of potential customers from Dell infringe on the copyright of a similar list from Gateway. There would undoubtably be an overlap.

IMHO, this is a ridiculous law.


Re:Absolutely ridiculous (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455639)

The government has no place helping corporations protect their profits.

Re:Absolutely ridiculous (1, Insightful)

deadmongrel (621467) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455699)

"I'm all for corporations making profits, and the government helping protect this, but what is happening is that the small guy gets hurt"
you must be kidding right. You support government protecting corporations(think haliburton) and yet you are concerned but the "little guy". You have to pick one side. Pity is the last thing we need.

I can't believe it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455476)

I can't believe that they discontinued Sleepdrys! Look!

Sleepdrys []

copyright (-1)

povman (610505) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455487)

Someone managed to copyright peoples phone numbers as songs.

Prior law might defeat this in court (5, Interesting)

NinjaPablo (246765) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455489)

A 1997 case between Motorola and the National Basketball Association could serve as an example. After Motorola sent basketball scores to its customers' pagers, the NBA sued the company for misappropriating its property. A U.S. Appeals Court, however, ruled against the NBA.

This seems like mostly the same thing. If this thing does get passed, it will probably be overturned quickly by a court.

Re:Prior law might defeat this in court (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455533)

It's never safe to assume the courts will do the right thing.

Re:Prior law might defeat this in court (2, Insightful)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455568)

Just because there is precidence doesn't mean that teh courts will follow it. There are many times when they don't follow precidence, they just do what they "intrepret". And there are so many laws now they can "intrepret" things in a lot of different ways.

Re:Prior law might defeat this in court (2, Insightful)

xeaxes (554292) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455596)

I hope it doesn't even pass.

Honestly, I would be willing to copyright stats for NBA, NHL, MLB, NCAAB, NFL, and MLS. Then I would go to each respective league, ESPN, Fox Sports, and all local sports shows and sue them for copy infringement. I'd also license out the stats for a high price. Early retirement, here I come.

In seriousness, is there anything that actually protects the use of data itself? Couldn't somebody just throw the entire dictionary in a database as data, and then sue anybody who used any word? This whole thing seems absurd.

We need to let everyone know what FUD this is (3, Informative)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455514)

Send a free fax to your Congressmen and Senators here [] .

Here is a fact: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455518)

Linux fucking sucks. Don't worry, I did not copyright this fact; feel free to use it in future conversations!

Pretty much proves... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455520)

That the house (and most other politicans) have thier heads stuck up someone elses wallets.

lawyers (1)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455522)

I know what this is. Lawyers figure they need to make more money off of nothing. They are pushing to find new ways for lawsuits. Isn't most of congress lawyers anyway. They are trying to take over the world one lawsuit at a time.

Re:lawyers (4, Insightful)

malchus842 (741252) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455631)

Most legislatures are made up of at least a plurality, if not a majority of lawyers. And they have, so far, pretty much prevented any real reform in the legal system. In fact, the slower it goes, and the more complicated it gets, the more benefit to the lawyers. If the cases drag for years, they can bill for years.

The entire system needs to be simplified and speedier. It can takes years to get simple cases resolved. Even ones that are downright silly.

But legal reform isn't the only thing needed - the entire federal and state criminal and civil codes need to be re-written and simplified, along with IRS codes, etc, etc. Just think about the time and money wasted because of the foolish complexity of the system. Any party that is truly committed to simplification of the system will get my vote. And neither the GOP nor the Democrats are interested in anything but more complexity - which allows them to help their pet special interests at the expense of the public.

Re:lawyers (1)

Godeke (32895) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455669)

Actually, I was considering this yesterday. Most politicians are either lawyers or successful businessmen. Is it therefor surprising that the only things that are seen as valuable and worth protecting are those things which are valuable to those groups? (This is excepting the lip service to those who voted them in: I mean what they *really* work hard to achive.)

This thought was triggered by the news that Google and other large companies are outsourcing R&D work. In a technology based company, R&D is basically the foundation that supports your next business cycle. Outsourcing it would seem like suicide. Then I realized that perhaps even Google's leadership has been won over to the concept that somehow the only important part of a company is the business leadership. Everything else can be packed up, shipped out and done cheaper. Even the functions that determine the future sustainability of your company.

I wonder how long it really will take for the US to train the world how to replace it, whilst simultaniously creating a legal environment so hostile to innovation that nothing new is created here. After that, how long before the suits will have to move to where the real action happens... wherever we transfered all our skills and knowledge in the persuit of lower prices.

Terrible idea (4, Funny)

yukster (586300) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455525)

This is a terrible idea... and that's a fact.

(Please see my lawyers if you'd like to license this fact...)

Re:Terrible idea (2, Funny)

Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455647)

I allready copyrighted that fact, and as you can see in my sig, You know owe me a license fee.

Nobody can own a fact. (5, Interesting)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455527)

True enough.

Now. Let's consider the database as a whole.

Do you feel that any database you take the time to put together should have no protection whatseover? As a whole, I mean..

We can probably agree that wholesale copying of my database should not be allowed... even if the individual facts are not copyrightable.

The question becomes, where do we draw the line? Should the DB owner get no protection?

Re:Nobody can own a fact. (3, Insightful)

cowscows (103644) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455598)

You protect the DB by not allowing anyone who wants it access. If someone breaks into your computers and takes it, there's laws against computer crimes to cover that.

Re:Nobody can own a fact. (3, Insightful)

nojomofo (123944) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455599)

I don't see why we need laws to offer you this protection. You can very well enter a contract with anyone who you allow to use your database stating that they are not allowed to resell it, give the info away, etc. You retain complete control. What's wrong with treating "databases" like trade secrets?

Nobody can own a fact.-DB's just want to be free (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455655)

"What's wrong with treating "databases" like trade secrets?"

Because like trade secrets, once it's out in the wild. Then you're screwed

Re:Nobody can own a fact. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455646)

thank you. the article submitter is stupid.

This is NOT about owning FACTS!

slashdotters, get over it. the parent comment is the only one i've read so far that addresses the actual issue.

This is about owning your own WORK.

Another example: You are the author of a sports almenac (sp?) with all scores from the past 50 years, like in back to the future. Wouldn't you want to own the work you put together? i mean, that probably took you a considerable amount of time to put together and you don't want anyone else to use it for free.

Re: IP vs Copyrights (4, Insightful)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455665)

A database can be considered intellectual property and a trade secret without being copyrightable, thereby providing any corporation any legitimate protection they may need.

The catch is as soon as you share, your secret isn't a secret any more, and this is where the corporate money-grubers don' want the the process to stop.

Re:Nobody can own a fact. (2)

Groundwalker (758761) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455712)

If the information in the database is commonly available, and not proprietary, though, it will be hard to distinguish between databases that were stolen and those that were developed simultaneously by different parties.

Also, can you copyright soemthing just because it took you some time and effort to do it, because that is basically what you are suggesting. To me that seems kind of absurd.

time for the new "open facts" movement (5, Interesting)

surreal-maitland (711954) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455529)

from the permitted acts section: (a) INDEPENDENTLY GENERATED OR GATHERED INFORMATION- This Act shall not restrict any person from independently generating or gathering information obtained by means other than extracting it from a database generated, gathered, or maintained by another person and making that information available in commerce. so fear not, you'll still be able to get that cute girl's phone number once you learn her name.

Wrong direction... (3, Insightful)

yog (19073) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455531)

We should be moving toward more open sharing of information, not the opposite. All we'll end up with is a dearth of new knowledge. It will be like pouring hot salt water into the gears; eventually it will rust up and grind to a halt.

As usual, everyone should write to their congress critters [] and register their opinions.

Woo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455535)

"BSD Is Dying. That's a fact." All you trolls owe me $50 every time you use that line now.

Will this change anything? (4, Interesting)

pajeromanco (575906) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455540)

Please somebody explain it to me. As far as I can see, this Act is valid only for the USA. I guess some "googlebot" launched outside the US could grab the info and show it.
I see this Act valid for some databases, but I can't see it applicable in the Internet.
As I said, this law stuff is too much to me. Any help would be great.

Re:Will this change anything? (3, Interesting)

KjetilK (186133) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455691)

Well, for one thing: Laws tend to be "harmonized". I expect this to become law here in Norway very soon too. No, I do not expect there will be a public debate, and if it is, it will mean nothing for the law.

I think this may mean that the "Semantic Web" [] is dead. It never was allowed the time to take off, but an important part of it was to allow computers to make sense out of data, for example having agents roam around and gather facts, and present it to the user any way the user likes. You'd bet if anybody tries this, it will get beaten to the ground by this law at the first attempt, and any subsequent attempts to research or commercialize applications doing this would get into so deep legal problems it will simply not be feasible.

So much for Intellectual Property encouraging innovation.

Informational Copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455541)

SCO would love the idea.

SCO could put a dictionary file in a database, and then sue everyone for using their information.

Or they'll just start nailing people for using the letters "S" "C" or "O".

Microsoft would have 4 counts against them immediately.

No it doesn't (3, Insightful)

nytmare (572906) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455543)

This bill would allow companies to copyright databases and goes directly against the idea that nobody can own a fact." Um sure, just like current copyright law for books goes directly against the idea that nobody can own a word? What planet are you from.

SCO must have a database (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455545)

I think I figured out SCO's copyright claims. They must have entered all the Linux source into a database. So then it's true, they do own Linux!

Database this! (2, Funny)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455548)

all the phone numbers of employees of
1. credit card companies
2. free vacation offers
3. home mortage companies

so I can harass them back...


Laws are copyrighted. (1)

bludstone (103539) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455549)

Some laws are copyrighted, and you need to pay hundreds of dollars just to get a copy of that law.

No, Im not kidding.

There _was_ someone who tried to fight this by posting the laws online, but I am unsure what happened.

Re:Laws are copyrighted. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455652)

Does anyone have a source for this?

water is wet (2, Funny)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455554)

(c)SoupGuru Enterprises. Any use other than that expressly granted by the copyright holder is forbidden.

My copyrighted list of facts (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455559)


Licenses to use any of the information on my copyrighted list are available now at very reasonable rates. Discounts are available for bulk users. Yeah, I'm talking to you, Neal Stephenson!

Re:My copyrighted list of facts (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455645)

Actually, your posting submitted them into the Slashdot database, so they're property of Slashdot. You should be paying them for permission to reproduce.

I already bought my license [] .

We're doomed. (1)

dsb3 (129585) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455560)

Next, they're going to license opinions.

I'm doomed! Doomed, I tell you! DOOMED!

Government and Industry Working Together (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455563)

We taxpayers pay the government to collect and generate lots of information (e.g. Census Data, Economic Data, the Federal Register).

To make more money , politicians and corporations have been looking for ways to turn that freely available public information into a profit making enterprise. Business owned copyrights give direct profit for the corporations, and indirect profit for the politicians, who accept bribes^D^D^D^D^D^D campaign contributions.

In the past, proposed laws have made adding page numbers, covers, etc to a document enough to put a stamp of copyright on it.

Thank goodness for "activist judges" who recognize that what we pay for is ours, and not theirs.

Re:Government and Industry Working Together (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455697)

Actually, it's because of "activist judges" that we have copyright to begin with. If they weren't activist, then amendment would mean amendment and national copyright would have ceased once the Bill of Rights was passed.

I want a payment (2, Interesting)

rm007 (616365) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455567)

Presumably if a company wants to claim intellectual property rights over, for example, a consumer information database, they will pay me for use of information about me. I happen to keep quite a lot of data in various records. I would be willing license use of this information to other database providers for a small payment. Kidding aside, if they are going to claim some form of rights over data and not just how it is presented, they are going to have recognise the interests of individual data subjects.

No more libraries (3, Interesting)

gcaseye6677 (694805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455571)

This bill would be the end of libraries as we know them. Other than copyrighted books, there's not much they would be able to have in their collections. How could they afford what would be the new astronomical prices of those indexes and journals once the 'fact tax' is paid to all the corporations that claim ownership to the facts?

Ahem. Almanacs. (4, Interesting)

cardshark2001 (444650) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455572)

Collections of facts have enjoyed copyrightable status for a long, long time. That's what an almanac is.

It doesn't mean you can't quote a fact from an almanac, just that you can't steal large portions and claim them as yours.

A dictionary is like a database of words. The dictionary provider doesn't own the particular words, they own the collection of them. Sometimes dictionary makers put false words in there to catch competitors stealing their lists.

Putting together a database can be very hard work and if someone can just rip off the whole thing, it makes providers think twice before they bother to do it.

Re:Ahem. Almanacs. (2, Funny)

Dave21212 (256924) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455678)

Sometimes dictionary makers put false words in there to catch competitors stealing their lists.
Darn... after I spent an hour arguing over a word last night while playing Scrabble [] , I find out the word may have been fake after all !

Re:Ahem. Almanacs. (4, Informative)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455705)

What's copyrightable in an almanac is the presenation and exposition of the facts, not the facts themselves. It's the same principle under which photographs of works in the public domain are copyrightable. There's a section in the copyright statues about it.

Phone Books (5, Insightful)

TruffleGuy (664280) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455575)

Isn't a phone book a kind of data base?

He also says that despite Kupferschmid's characterization, the bill puts no limit on the amount of information someone needs to take from a database to violate the law.

So if I write down a phone number out of a phone book would I be thrown in a pound me in the ass prison

Re:Phone Books (2, Insightful)

surreal-maitland (711954) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455629)

ONLY if the phone book is copyrighted, which i don't believe it is.

makes a lot of sense. (1)

tumbaumba (547886) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455578)

It really makes a lot of sense. We already have copyrights on parts of dna of different species and this bill just seems like natural extension. The concepts of property and ownership will continue expand until all particles, ideas and what not will carry some kind of ownership label. That is gonna be fun.

not copyrighting facts, copyrighting an aggregate (1)

beni1207 (603012) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455581)

I don't think it's too hard to see the difference between bare facts and a useful collection of those facts. Saying that copyrighting a database amounts to copyrighting facts is like saying that copyrighting a book amounts to copyrighting words.

Re:not copyrighting facts, copyrighting an aggrega (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455716)

Dont' make me quote the part of the article that states it is unclear how many individual facts it would take to violate a database copyright.

As long as.... (4, Interesting)

herrvinny (698679) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455583)

As long as *individuals* can also copyright information, it's okay by me. Build up a db of info about me, copyright it, BAM, I can sue people/companies with my personal information.

Dictionaries (2, Funny)

southpolesammy (150094) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455590)

Sounds like Webster's is in for a big payday. Every word is now owned by them.

Re:Dictionaries (1)

TruffleGuy (664280) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455674)

I totaly forgot about dictionaries (even thoe I need to use them all the time) - Great Data Base of words

Facts as advertising (0, Redundant)

(Maly) (742260) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455591)

"The sky is Blue."(C)

(C) International Business Machines, Inc. 2004

Re:Facts as advertising (3, Funny)

pajeromanco (575906) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455671)

> "The sky is Blue."(C)
> (C) International Business Machines, Inc. 2004

"The Screen is Blue." (C)

(C) Microsoft Corporation

oh no! (1)

Digitus1337 (671442) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455592)

The idea that says that you can't own ideas is copyrighted, anyone to speak for or against will be promptly incinerated.

Forget the easiest way out, here's the best way in (1)

TechnoFreek (758758) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455597)

Copyright the copyrighted copyrights, and then sue all the copyrighters under you. or:
1. Copyright Copyrights
2. File lawsuit against the "Copyright Infringers"
3. ???
4. Profit!

The ACM loves you (4, Interesting)

BlueboyX (322884) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455600)

The ACM had a vote (in which I voted) about this very issue. The vote was in responce to this bill and used it as an example, but the concept that we (the members of the ACM) were deciding was generalized. The winning opionion by far was that current legislation already offers sufficient protection. As such, additional legislation can only be rudundant or bad.

So in order to actually pass this bill, both houses need to consider why a huge organization of professionals (as opposed to some slashdotters and pirates) are against it.

passed out of commerce committee (2, Informative)

dcgaber (473400) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455602)

It was reported out of the Commerce Committee today. 2 versions, one that codifies the HotNews case, and is very mild based on common law precedent (and pretty much how the courts currently interpret these issues), and the more onerous one which was reported unfavorably. So it looks like it may be stalled and not reach the floor.

This is a good thing!

So how about this (3, Insightful)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455615)

Register yourself as a company.

Make a database of your personal information (Name, phone number, address, family history, etc).

Sue other companies for using your "copyrighted data", which is held by your company.

Profit! (For the lawyers anyway)

Re:So how about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455703)

lol - I like this idea remind me to do it if this law gets passed

my 2x10^-2 dollars (5, Interesting)

Valar (167606) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455616)

It seems to be like this is more about copyrighting collections of facts than the facts themselves. For example, if it is a trivial collection of facts (for example, the collection of information "My name is Foo"), I don't believe it is coverable. Thusly, the companies couldn't copyright a pairing between you and your phone number and then sue you for giving your number out. Similarly, a maker of encyclopedias couldn't copyright the fact "The marmot is a mammal." and then sue other people/companies who also make the claim that marmots are mammals.

In the case of encyclopedias, the collection of information would already be covered by copyright (it is a written work). However, legally, the idea of databases as copyrightable material is a little shakey. Is it a work of art? A written work? It falls under that hard to define region of 'other' works of authorship. The law aims to clarify this.

Oh, and make the overlords happy.

Reminds me of a quote (2, Interesting)

Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455618)

here it is, and IMO, believe it has a high probability of coming to pass.

Knowledge in the form of an informational commodity indispensable to productive power is already, and will continue to be, a major-perhaps the major-stake in the worldwide competition for power. It is conceivable that the nation-states will one day fight for control of information, just as they battled in the past for control over territory, and afterwards for control over access to and exploitation of raw materials and cheap labor.

- Jean Francois Lyotard (b. 1924), French philosopher. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, Introduction (1979).

Unintended Consequences (5, Funny)

sssmashy (612587) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455620)

"The law of unintended consequences in this case has the potential to be huge," Brodsky said.

Actually, I think the law of unintended consequences has been licensed and copyrighted to the Elect Ralph Nader Committee for quite some time now.

What about blackhole lists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455621)

If this passes does that mean we will have to license spam-blocking lists and porn-blocking lists? Does the law allow for independent creation of lists which are largely the same?

So if I.... (0, Redundant)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455623)

...create a database of all my own personal information - name, age, phone number, address, credit card numbers, etc. - does that mean I can sue ANYBODY who calls me or otherwise makes use of my personal information without my knowledge or consent? Hmmm... Perhaps I should start a company where I build databases for each person who signs up so that they can claim copyright of themselves and tell telemarketers, etc. to go fsck off!

I can't imagine. . . (1)

taustin (171655) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455628)

. . . that this would pass a first amendment test.

A view from the trenches.... (4, Insightful)

LibrePensador (668335) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455630)

I haven't looked at the details of the bill. I am staunch defender of copyleft and I am the first to oppose the current copyright regime. In fact, all of my work is released under a creative commons license.

But, and here's the part where I get sent to burn in karma hell, there are "collections of facts" that should be copyrightable.

Let me give you an example, quality multi-lingual terminological databases and glossaries are multi-year projects that demand a great deal of capital and human labor.

These terms are out there for anyone to do the work and compile them, yet no one will do this kind of tedious and thorough work unless they have a reasonable guarantee of being properly remunerated for their efforts now and into the future.

I would argue that a 10-year copyright period is more than sufficient for this kind of work to thrive.

In an ideal world, universities would band together to create these works and then release them to the public domain, but most universities these days operate as large corporate conglomerates and have very little interest in producing public goods.

Advancement of what? (5, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455649)

Section. 8.
Clause 8: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

How does this advance Arts or Science? It's a real stretch to say that a list of customer data is a Writing or a Discovery.

Trivia games!! (2, Interesting)

(Maly) (742260) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455664)

The price of Trivial Pursuit will go up exponentially as they begin to be bombarded by invoices from encyclopedia licence owners.

And Jeopardy! will be run into the ground. Each question will cost them a fortune.

Guy where I work just did this (1)

mrcparker (469158) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455672)

We have a guy who copyrighted a database and ended up selling it back to the company for around $40,000.

He had started as a consultant, and during this time he wrote the backend of a really, really important application and copyrighted the database right before being hired on full time. A month ago he decided that he wanted to go work for another company and he wanted some money for the database he had copyrighted. Now, the company that I work for has a whole staff of full time lawyers who stated his claim was legitimate.

Truth is, the guy could have charged a whole lot more but he figured that the company wouldn't jerk him around as much for $40,000 which is a drop in the bucket.

Editors who don't read articles... (3, Informative)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455684)

This doesn't allow you to copyright facts. It even says so in the linked slashdot blurb. It bears some similarities to copyright, but it's a completely different class of law.

The last thing we need is for slashdot to misinform everyone on something that fundamental about the bill.

mmmmmm genomics (5, Interesting)

wheatking (608436) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455700)

... the interesting question is that could this be used by various bio-tech companies to start claiming genomes (of rats or rice or humans) as similar protected 'collected' data. if so, there is an interesting debate to be had there for 'open source' sequencing (mySequence!) and how to make the results available for research. same goes for proteomics and gene expression research. arguably, they are just uncovering 'facts' and the groups they occur in...

This is my ticket to Easy Street (1)

DangerSteel (749051) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455713)

I simply hurry to the nearest Patent Attorney and copyright my LAN Database. So I can license later for a hefty fee.

Let's see where do I start / /

I will set up on online store where you can purchase your own license at a discount of $699. That's the pre-lawsuit price : )

Why is this such a crazy idea? (2, Insightful)

V_M_Smith (186361) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455718)

Companies (and individuals) expend a great deal of time, energy, and resources to compile information. Why should they not be afforded some protection for that effort? The example of legal databases from the article is a perfect one -- it takes time, money, and a large amount of effort to enter cases and decisions into a database. This proposed law will not make those cases copyrighted, but simply the aggregated collection of cases in the database. There's a world of difference.

All this means is that you can't freely copy a set of information compiled by someone else without their permission. Seems fair to me. It's not the facts themselves (e.g. phone numbers, stock quotes etc.) that would be copyrighted, but some specific collection of facts. If you really want a database of stock quotes, you're free to create your own (or ask the copyright holder if you can use theirs).

What about government? (1)

gibbonboy (162143) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455720)

Is there some exception for government services? I already cannot disclose a name and address from our database, even to police; unless there's been a previous call from that phone number. The existing calls become public record, and are therefore ok to give out to authorized persons or agencies. Will I now have some jackass with money for a lawyer copyrighting our 911 databases, since they're just names, phone numbers, and addresses? Another half-baked law, probably introduced by a half-baked politician who wants a job when they leave office.

Flashback from the future (1)

broothal (186066) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455722)

June 22nd, 2009

"Back when I was a young geek, there was a common expression called "is that a fact?". Now that's just silly I know, because all the facts in the world was copyrighted in 2004. You know - when I went to school, we got high grades if we got our facts straight. Now after that evil coorporation sued the school system, that's just not the case anymore"

Beware of he who would deny (1)

abolith (204863) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455724)

you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.

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