[Rd] R datasets ownership(copyright) and license

Yaroslav Halchenko yarikoptic at gmail.com
Wed Apr 4 00:19:07 CEST 2012

I somewhat agree with Spencer -- as I have mentioned, the recent precedence
with tz database shows that such claims would not be taken as ungrounded right
away and things could easily go all the way to court -- and that might be a
really costly endeavor regardless who is right or wrong.  Proving that
data is factual, and not fictional/creative/original might be another challenge
in quite a few cases I bet.

While searching for more information -- I found IMHO a very nice (although a
bit dated) summary: http://www.bitlaw.com/copyright/database.html which,
if we talk about abroad-of-USA summarizes nicely: 

"sui generis right that prohibits the extraction or reutilization of any
database in which there has been a substantial investment in either obtaining,
verification, or presentation of the data contents. Under this second right,
there is no requirement for creativity or originality."

so -- I would be especially careful with data from EU ;-)

on the other hand above link clarifies to me that it is ok to claim a copyright
(e.g.  as it is in R) on the collection of factual unprotected (still unsure if
that is the case with R datasets) data.

On Tue, 03 Apr 2012, Spencer Graves wrote:
> On 4/3/2012 2:00 PM, Hadley Wickham wrote:
> >>2. we considered all datasets factual data thus not copyrightable (in
> >>   USA? around the globe?)
> >This is definitely true in the US, but not true globally.  I have no
> >idea under which jurisdiction a lawsuit would apply.

>       I'd be careful with the word "definitely".  The major media
> conglomerates and their industry associations have successfully
> destroyed competition to their hegemony in many areas.  For example,
> they sued college students for close to $100 billion, because their
> improvements of search engines made it easier for people in a
> university intranet to find copyrighted music placed by others in
> their "public" folder.  They successfully sued lawyers who advised
> MP3 that they had reasonable grounds to believe what they did would
> be legal and Venture Capitalists who funded Napster.  In each case,
> they won not on the law but on the fact that they had larger budgets
> for lawyers.  See Lessig (2004) Free Culture [book available from
> Amazon and also for free under the Creative Commons license;  see
> Wikipedia, "Free Culture (book),
> "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Culture_(book)
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Culture_%28book%29>"].

>       Spencer Graves

> >Hadley

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