Can You Copyright Movie Times?
from the and-if-you-could,-why-would-you? dept
You need to know it is unlawful and a violation of our copyright and intellectual property rights for you to build a system that obtains our content from any source other than to obtain an expressed license from West World Media for legal usage of our content. Each violation of our Intellectual property rights allows us to collect damages of up to $150,000 per infringement. This would equate in liquid damages of over $600,000 per month if you violate our rights.Anderson responded, asking the company how factual information (such as movie times) could be covered by copyright, and the company responded:
"It is not our responsibility or duty to explain complex US Intellectual Property rights law, we however enjoy many protections from them. I suggest you hire an IP attorney to explain it to you. From your response, it seems to me you have no intentions of moving forward in a legal manner. We closely monitor any and all usage of our content and if we discover your unlawful usage of it, we will exercise our rights to their fullest extent of the law."Now, obviously, the company makes its money by licensing its database of showtimes to certain websites, but that information is factual, and it's difficult to see how the company could hold a copyright on it (at least in the US, where there's no real "database right" -- elsewhere... perhaps a different story). There's also no creative element in merely listing showtimes, and it's hard to see how they would possibly be covered by copyright. If the problem is that the company is upset that its business model can't handle other people sending it traffic, that's a business model problem, not a copyright problem. Time to redesign the business model to take a cut of sales, rather than to rely on artificial copyrights. Unfortunately, though, it doesn't stop a company from making such threats...
Separately, this reminds me of the fact that, just a few months ago, we were talking about how the movie times in newspapers were apparently paid advertisements by the theaters themselves. So, this seems like an odd switch as well: newspapers get paid for movie listings, but websites have to pay for them? How does that work?