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Re: Copyright in Bibliographic records?

This is the database protection issue: someone takes alot of time, effort 
and energy, and money to compile a really useful database. The individual 
data items as facts are not protected by copyright law (there's only  "thin" 
protection in the entire compilation), so the database vendor controls 
licensee conduct with a contract.

This is all the protection they have at the moment. This is why they
wanted more and sought it in the US Congress last year and then in Geneva
in the winter. It did not work either place, though it will be on the
agenda again.  That is, they want to create a form of protection for
facts. This is a very important issue that all of us in the
university/library community should be aware of. New protection for facts
would alter 200 year old law in the US. This is quite a leap to make
without a full and complete airing of the pros and cons. 

Georgia Harper
Univ. of Tx. System
Office of General Counsel


Interesting question...bibliographic records consist of facts yes?  (facts
about the item being cataloged).. Facts are not copyrightable.  Only their
expression is copyrightable.  I suspect that the amount of original
expression in a cataloging record is fairly minimal.  If you were to do
this wholesale, I would cretainly consult legal counsel, but I'm farily
certain that copyright laws are not being violated if you copy
bibliographic records.

Lisa A. Eichholtz
Reference Librarian
Medical University of South Carolina
Charleston, SC  29407
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