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Copyrighting compiled lists
Am I wrong here?
mrowton

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1610 posted 8:48 pm on Sep 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have a few sites that serve as niche directories. They don't link to sites, but rather places that provide services relating to widgets.

I just got off the phone with a guy who has a similar page. To his defense we got the majority of our list from his site (excluding several broken links)

He requested that I remove my list because it was a copyright violation.

This isn't a large list that took lots of man hours (75 items total) And these are free services, so aside from ad money it isn't directly commercial for either of us. btw, these aren't popular or high paying type words.

Given the short, noncommercial nature of it I greed to change things up a bit. But when I started collecting snippet descriptions from the service providers themselves I noticed that he used the same snippet most of the time.

He then said that he didn't write the descriptions himself but he compiled the list. I said ok, I'll remove some of the least popular one and add new ones to make it substantially different. He didn't want this because I was still using stuff from his site, including descriptions (which aren't his)

He wasn't particularly nice in his phone call and now I'm thinking about it and fuming.

You can't copyright a list of 70 widgets can you, especially if they are the popular/well known ones in the niche field? I could completely understand if he had any original content that I copied. And I could understand if the widget company asked us to stop. I would have removed them if he asked in a not-rude way, or if it were a database that took more than half an hour on his part to compile. But NO, this is a list pasted into MS Frontpage.

He mentioned sending a notice to Google saying I was using his stuff, which also irritated me.

By the end of the call I said that I would change some things around and talk to him about it in a few days. But the more I think about it the more upset I get. I'm thinking of leaving it as is and being rude back to him if he calls back. Am I wrong?

 

Eltiti

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1610 posted 9:13 pm on Sep 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

IMHO, there's a legal side to this question (which I cannot address, not being a lawyer) and a practical side. If I were you, I'd just write 75 short descriptions of my own (should take an hour or so) and perhaps add a few sites. A final touch might be to change the order of the sites; and that would be it!

fischermx

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1610 posted 8:05 pm on Sep 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Definitely, they can't copyright a list of 70 or whatever number of widgets.
However, if that list has brief description that that guy right himself he has pretty much an argument.

I often find in my logs proof that people is taking my lists from my niche directory to repost. I hate that, but I don't care that much to go and sue people for copyright violations, nor I have money to do it.

If this is your case, add just other 10-20 widgets, change the description of the other items you already have, and then you have your own list and can claim your own copyright in your improved work.

fischermx

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1610 posted 8:07 pm on Sep 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I reread your post, that's funny, neither on you can claim copyright on such thing.

Actually, just for fun, what about if you go first to google and tell them is he who is using your list? <lol>

mrowton

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1610 posted 8:40 pm on Sep 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've been going through the descriptions today. I've found a couple (3-5) that weren't obviously taken for the widgets website. Its not like he studied the widget and created his own description.

Just as an example, the descriptions are more like "Slashdot, news for nerds" than a book review. They are short (one or two sentences) and usually pulled from the webpage's description of the service.

I think his argument is more that he took the time to find 75 widgets on his own, and I used his list. I have added about 20 new widgets now.

My primary reason for being upset is that he was rude and said I was violating his copyrights.

outland88

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1610 posted 10:13 pm on Sep 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think you're upset he caught you stealing.

mrowton

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1610 posted 10:19 pm on Sep 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think you're upset he caught you stealing.

Did you read the post? Can you tell me how I am stealing?

outland88

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1610 posted 10:53 pm on Sep 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

>To his defense we got the majority of our list from his site (excluding several broken links<

>But when I started collecting snippet descriptions from the service providers themselves I noticed that he used the same snippet most of the time.<

It seems to me you have a problem creating your own work, based upon your own quotes above. If I were him I'd just wash my hands of the whole matter and file the DMCA. Are you prepared for that? Do you want to gamble with your domains? Whatever twists or spins one side or both sides place on the story it really deals with the questions I posed. The rude argument doesn't carry much weight.

mrowton

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1610 posted 11:17 pm on Sep 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

I wasn't able to make use out of your single line opinion without knowing why you thought I was stealing. So I asked.

Now that you have included some specifics maybe I could ask you further about them.

>To his defense we got the majority of our list from his site (excluding several broken links<

This is the basic question I have. The list isn't of services that he provides, he did not write the titles, descriptions, or URL's in the list. He simply copied then from the services web sites. The example I gave was "slashdot news for nerds"

If someone makes a list of 75 top geek sites that consists of items similiar to the below.

Titel - Slashdot
Description - News for nerds
URL - /..org

Would I be stealing if I used these? Of course if the service provider (slashdot in this case) asked me to remove the link I certainly would.

>But when I started collecting snippet descriptions from the service providers themselves I noticed that he used the same snippet most of the time.<

Can you explain your reasoning here? I'm not a lawyer but I would hope the snippets would be considered fair use considering they are shorter than the average Google/MSN/Yahoo snippet.

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