[R] [OT] Is data copyrightable?
spencer.graves at pdf.com
Sat May 12 22:20:42 CEST 2007
Brian's reply seems more consistent with what I've heard than
The briefest summary I know of copyright law is that expression
but not ideas can be copyrighted. Copyright law exists to promote
useful arts, and a compilation of data is intended to be useful.
Google, led me to "http://ahds.ac.uk/copyrightfaq.htm#faq1?", says that
"data or other materials which (a) are arranged in a systematic or
methodical way, or (b) are individually accessible by electronic or
other means" can be copyrighted.
Beyond that, there is a "fair use" doctrine, which in the US at
least allows use in many cases by educators in public institutions, but
the same use by someone not affiliated with a public school might be an
infringement. Ten years ago, I heard from attorneys at the University
of Wisconsin that a college prof can run copies of a journal article and
distribute them to this class without worrying about copyright
infringement (provided any money collected is clearly designed to cover
costs not make a profit), but the same copies prepared by Kinko's off
campus for the same class (sold perhaps at the same price) must get
Hope this helps.
Peter Dalgaard wrote:
> hadley wickham wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> This is a little bit off-topic, but I was wondering if anyone has any
>> informed opinion on whether data (ie. a dataset) is copyrightable?
> In general not, I believe. E.g., I didn't have to ask formal permission
> to use data from Altman's book in mine (and I did check with my
> publisher). I suspect that things can get murkier than that though; I
> seem to recall stories of plagiarism cases in relation to collections of
> mathematical tables. Beware also that there can be other legal
> complications, including rights to first publication of new results,
> which usually implies that you cannot publish entire datasets until
> their publication potential has been exhausted. And of course, proper
> attribution is required for reasons of scientific integrity and general
> courtesy. (Disclaimer: I Am Not A Lawyer, esp. not a US one...)
> R-help at stat.math.ethz.ch mailing list
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
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