Re: How Many Trees? (WAS: URGENT: Immediate ethical issue)

Subject: Re: How Many Trees? (WAS: URGENT: Immediate ethical issue)
From: Valerie Priester <hammerl -at- buffalo -dot- edu>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 05 May 2003 15:01:00 -0400

--On Monday, May 05, 2003 8:17 PM +0200 Jan Henning <henning -at- r-l -dot- de> wrote:
Stephen Gillespie wrote:

So, are you saying that if one does the research (counting trees in the
forest), and published as fact that, e.g. there are 10,380 pine tress
Yosemite Park, that is NOT 'copyrightable'?

Let me start by saying I missed the beginning of this thread (been busy) and can't find it in the archives. Regardless...

Right. You can't copyright facts. You copyright works of authorship (which include dramatic works, music, novels, choraeography, art, images, sound recordings, etc.). An unrelated example would be, say a hockey game. You can't copyright the game summary, but if you write an article for newspaper XYZ, it can be copyrighted. The game summary is a collection of facts -- number of shots, number of saves, who played, who earned a penalty. I can take the sum of those facts and write a lovely, entertaining article using my own words and it's copyrightable. So, too, is the broadcast, which includes play-by-play calling, as well as commentary. Likewise, if you had a recipe, the ingredients list is not copyrightable. If you have a unique literary expression to describe how to combine them, or you present them in a video (see food tv broadcasts for example), then you've got copyright. Now, getting back to trees, I could count them all, but it's still not copyrightable. I could write a moving essay about them, and that would be. I could create a documentary about them, and that would be.

I'd say that is the type of
'esoteric', NOT-everyday run-of-the-mill common knowledge that does
not fall
under Fair Use.

As Jan noted, fair use doesn't involve whether something is common. Purpose of the use (commercial or educational), nature of the work, amount used in relation to the whole, and effect of the use on the value of the copyrighted work all count toward whether something falls under fair use, at least in the US.

Valerie Priester
hammerl -at- buffalo -dot- edu


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Re: How Many Trees? (WAS: URGENT: Immediate ethical issue): From: Jan Henning

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