German High Court Says That TV Schedule Info Is Covered By Copyright; TV Listings Sites Have To Pay

from the copyrighting-facts? dept

I still can't comprehend arguments in favor of allowing copyrights on facts. However, over in Europe they do allow copyrighting of facts if they're in a database, using so-called database rights. Of course, there's a big problem with such things. Contrary to the claim that database rights encourage a bigger database industry, the evidence (just like copyright and patents) points out that the opposite is true. And yet, Europe keeps believing in database rights. techflaws.org points us to a recent High Court ruling in Germany claiming that TV listings are covered by copyright and thus websites that display the factual information of what the TV schedule is have to pay up. In other words, it's going to become harder to find out what time shows are on TV, meaning that fewer people will watch TV. How does this help anyone?
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Filed Under: copyright, germany, tv listings


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  1. identicon
    The Anti-Mike, 22 Dec 2009 @ 10:42pm

    Re: Re: perhaps...

    Yes, it's the overall presentation, but it's the creativity within that presentation, not the specific facts, as you note. So a TV listing company absolutely could have a copyright on their *design* but so long as the site in question changed the design and merely reprinted the facts, it should be allowed. But it was not.

    That's the problem.


    It's also about how that information is sourced. If tvtv.de has no staff, and is entirely dependent on taking content from the other site and reformatting it, there is an issue. Clearly one party is doing work to collection information,and the other party is just using their efforts for profit with minimal expense.

    Copyright is not designed to cover "products of value." They are designed to promote progress, and, as such are only designed to protect new creative works.

    You almost got it, but you missed. Is TV guide just a guide, or is it a a work product? Much of the information inside isn't specifically copyrighted (the listing information as individual items), but as a block source, it crosses the line from raw data to a finished product. Do you not think that a company taking the listing sections of a TV guide and replacing the ads with their own and republishing it would not get in trouble?

    and there is no evidence of increased database output when such laws are strengthened

    Raw output of anything isn't a very good indication of an effecient or effective system, especially in this case. Nothing would be stopping tvtv.de from making all the contacts and creating their own database to work from. What is an issue is that they appear to be allowing someone else to do the expensive work (gathering data) and then profiting from that effort at no cost.

    I cannot understand why you don't see that this is an issue. The company that collects the data has the expense, and is effectively supplying their competition at no cost. I cannot see how that would be considered fair or just.

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