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Re: Copyright in Bibliographic records?

Good morning,

The debate for rights holding over bibliographic database is very complex. 
But is this a debate about copyright ? 

As someone says, copyright is about the form we give to facts, not facts
themselves. So in any bibliographic record, there's two
kinds of information :
        - facts : title, and any descriptive catalographic info
                  i think this info is not copyrightable
        - indexing info, which is dependent of the structure and concepts
                 of the database (thesaurus, authority, ...). This can be
                 protected under copyright.

There was a very big lawsuit in France on these :

        The newspaper _Le Monde_ suing (in 1978) a Canadian society
        _Microfor_ who where producing an index of this journal
        articles, using the title of articles and the "chapeau" (sorry,
        i don't know the english term, but it's the first sentences
        of an article, generally in bold characters). _Le Monde_ claimed
        it was a copyright infringment. After ten years of debate
        from three courts, the conclusion is : No, using small portion
        of a copyrighted work, that don't replace the reading of the
        whole article, and for bibliographic purpose (i.e. to invite
        people toi read the whole article) is not an infringment.

This mean that the fact are distinguished from the database organisation,
and that the destination of the work is a subject that matter. 

The claims from database producers that their records are copyrighted is
so two-folded :
        - indexing can be protected,
        - but fact (decriptive catalographic job) don't seems to be.

But they are the product of some work. Catalographers get money, quality
control over their work (if it happens :-) is time consuming...  So the
claim for a protection is fair. 

Does it have to be under copyright?  It is another problem.  In france, we
have a subset of the commercial legislation that state upon
"enrichissement sans cause" (enrichment without reasons).  Isn't this the
adequat protection ? 

I don't think anyone can download a record and use it in his catalog (if
it is not a personal one). But if copyright is involved the subject can be
very difficult to hold. For example, in France, copyright is associated
with a "moral right" from the owner upon his work. This mean that no one
can change the work without teh explicit consentment of the owner. That's
in concordance with this law that the french courts refuse the diffusion
of the colorized version of John Huston's Asphalt jungle on TV. It was not
done with the agreement of the owner (Huston's daughter). 

If copyright is to be claimed for bibliographic records, it means that no
one can change the record for purpose of introducing it in a personal

There's another point to take in view :

The bibliographic information is now more and more the product of a
computer work based upon facts. I mean: indexing is or soon will be a
computer job, using artificial intelligence techniques, automatic
classification, statistical information retrieval algorithms... So the
part of a bibliographic record which ca be protected with a
copyright...soon will be not human value added info.... That a real
problem isn't it ? 

If we want to protect the ability to do good bibliographies, with quality
control, and cooperative sharing between agreed libraries, copyright seems
to be dangerous. And if we let copyright be the solution (the umbrella)
for this problem, many other conflict may arise. The copyright maximalists
as Pamela Samuelson says in the last issue of _Wired_ will take this
opportunity to extend over any information service... and in an
information society this can cover most of human activity... 

Herve' Le Crosnier

PS : sorry for my bad english writing.
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