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Q: Addresses/phone numbers- Public Info? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Addresses/phone numbers- Public Info?
Category: Business and Money > Small Businesses
Asked by: vvolz-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 21 Jan 2005 14:30 PST
Expires: 20 Feb 2005 14:30 PST
Question ID: 461214
Are business addresses/phone numbers public information that I can use
in a software program I intend to sell? Also, can I use addresses I
find listed on other sites?
Subject: Re: Addresses/phone numbers- Public Info?
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 22 Jan 2005 16:00 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

Thanks for your question.

The US Copyright Office provides a good deal of information about what
sorts of information are -- and are not -- protected by copyright.

In particular, their website notes four categories of materials that
are NOT subject to copyright protection:

Among the exclusions listed at the above link is this one:


...Works consisting entirely of information that is common property
and containing no original authorship (for example: standard
calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers, and
lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources)

The type of name and address information that you asked about is
typically considered to be "common source" information with no
"original authorship", and can generally be freely copied.

Another Copyright Office site discusses the particular status of
telephone directories, and the well-known Feist decision of the
Supreme Court:


In 1991, the Supreme Court in Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone
Service Co. rejected the ?sweat of the brow? doctrine, holding that
creative originality was required by the constitutional provision
empowering Congress to enact copyright laws. To be copyrightable, a
compilation must evince a modicum of creativity in its selection,
coordination or arrangement. The Court held that the work at issue, a
white pages telephone directory, was uncopyrightable because it lacked
even this modicum of creativity.
----- you can see from the above, even the thousands of name and
address listings of an entire telephone directory can be copied
without infringing on copyright.

In short, names and addresses are generally held to be public
information that can be freely reproduced without concern of violating

However...please take careful note of the disclaimer at the bottom of
the page, here.  I am not a legal professional, and Google Answers is
not a substitute for professional legal advice.

If you need any further information on this topic, please let me know
before rating this answer.  Just post a Request for Clarification, and
I'll be happy to assist you further.

All the best,


search strategy -- Used bookmarked sites for copyright information.
vvolz-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Addresses/phone numbers- Public Info?
From: nelson-ga on 22 Jan 2005 15:38 PST
Spamming is evil.
Subject: Re: Addresses/phone numbers- Public Info?
From: vvolz-ga on 25 Jan 2005 15:18 PST
I'm creating a software program to sell. It's not for spamming.

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