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Q: Content on Public Websites ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Content on Public Websites
Category: Business and Money > eCommerce
Asked by: bilo-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 02 Mar 2005 11:28 PST
Expires: 01 Apr 2005 11:28 PST
Question ID: 483553
We are facing an interesting internal debate and it seems it is out of
our domain knowledge to address this. I was wondering if anyone could

we build data specifications sheets of computer products for
distributors/ resellers by acquiring it from manufacturers websites
who build the products, so no problem there us taking their data and
aggregating it. However when we are acquiring and aggregating product
specifications about a particular product we sometimes do not find a
specific data value e.g. Warranty information or Weight of the product
etc . We then go and look for that on other public domain sites such
as search engines, shopping engines etc. where some reseller or
retailer has listed that particular product for sale and somehow has
that information about that product we are looking for . Are we
stealing information (there are no copy right notices or terms of use
of the site etc being a public domain site) if we take that warranty
information or weight and complete our data sheet which may have the
other 99% information available from the manufacturer that we have
already acquired.

please backup your verdict with legal reference etc.
Subject: Re: Content on Public Websites
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 02 Mar 2005 12:08 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

Copyright questions are always fascinating, and always a bit
frustrating.  However, in your case, I think I can offer a fairly
clear-cut answer.

First, though, please note the disclaimer at the bottom of this page. 
I am not a legal professional, and Google Answers is not a substitute
for professional legal advice.

Having said that, though, there is a lot of precedent that makes it
fairly clear that simple facts are not protected by copyright.

Copyright exists to protect original works of authorship.  But a
collection of facts is not generally considered to rise to the level
of 'original' authorship, and is therefore generally not protected by

In fact, a fairly famous intellectual property case decided by the
Supreme Court -- Feist Publications v Rural Telephone -- found that
the listings in the phone book could not be copyright-protected, since
they are simple statements of fact rather than works characterized by
original authorship.

A good and brief overview of this whole topic can be found here:

Another take on the same aspect of the law can be seen here:

Note, however, that it is only the bare facts themselves that are
copyright-free, not their particular style of presentation,
organization, or other embellishments that may well be protected by

My read of this is that using a piece of information like the weight
of an item, or the fact that it has (or doesn't have) a 2 year
warranty, would not be infringing on copyright.

This answer is fairly brief, but I trust it contains all the
information you need regarding your own situation.

However, please do not rate this answer until you feel you have
everything you need.  If there's anything else I can do for you, just
let me know by posting a Request for Clarification, and I'm at your

All the best...


search strategy -- Used bookmarked sites for copyright.
bilo-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Very prompt response, accurate and with all the modesty one can expect
from a professional.

There are no comments at this time.

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