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Content, Writing and Copyright Forum

Copyright a list?
copyright of a list in catergory's

 9:00 am on Sep 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

I decided to make a Website about the town in which I live, use category's to display information such as:

But there is a site on the same town not very well designed and not easily navigated, but claims you cannot use these Categories or list within categories to list shops etc.. as he has copyright over the list within these category's.
Can someone claim copyright over a list of shops, pubs in your home town?

Your views would be very much appreciated

All the best



 9:16 am on Sep 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

If you logically come up with your own ideas and stucture then your have nothing to worry about.

Don't let words scare you, you have as much right to develope a category structure as the next person. Develope your site, logically, and forget who else may have the same reasoning.

Commonallity(logically) negates copyright... (in this aspect)


 10:18 am on Sep 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think you're safe using categories ... if your competitor were right, then you couldn't have more than one 'yellow pages' directory, ever. (In the US there are literally tons of competing phone books - I think I have three different sets of yellow pages at the moment for the same town.)

A shop is a shop - a restaurant is a restaurant - your competitor didn't do anything unique by labeling those categories and listing relevant items underneath.

I wouldn't worry about it. ;) Get out there, get your site up, and crush that competition.


 10:27 am on Sep 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have competitors doublicating the whole category structure and wording of my directories - sure ignoring my copyright statement that all content is protected (including the listing compilation and wording as well as the category structure and wording). If it's blatant i write them a cd letter and force them to either remove the mirror or at least reword it.

Do it your own way, use your own wording, don't doublicate.


 10:32 am on Sep 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

But there would have to be some duplication - if the categories are things like:

Then you'll put the same types of businesses in the same categories as your competitor did. People are trained to look for "Joes Bar and Grill" in the "restaurants" category.

I suppose you could rename the category "Food and Dining" instead of "Restaurants" ... but your list will end up nearly identical, I'd think.


 10:45 am on Sep 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

>But there would have to be some duplication

Hehehe, that's allways the first and only argument my mirroring friends try to get away with. Sure there's allways *some* duplication but you can often easily distinct between intentional full dups and partial dups based on the nature of the topic.

If i establish a new category i look which words the top listings (the competitors) at my prefered search engines use. There are often related wordings that are not used by them but used by the searchers. So a mix between allready used and not yet used wordings works in most cases and helps creating something new, unique.

>I suppose you could rename the category "Food and Dining" instead of
>"Restaurants" ... but your list will end up nearly identical, I'd think.

Agreed and that's why i first would rethink if it's really necessary to build a (better navigable, better designed) duplicate of a compilation that allready exists ... if it's not something new or more comprehensive - iow: if it's not unique and outstanding ...


 11:08 am on Sep 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

One cannot copyright an idea.

If you make your own directory using categories based on common themes then you are OK. If however, you use his content, then you are not OK. One could argue that the set of categories he has contrived would be copyright-able, and there could be some merit to that argument, so it would be best to start from scratch without any further influence from the competing site.

If you end up with the same structure entirely by your own efforts then this would be covered by the provisions within copyright law for duplicity of origination, ie., two totally unconnected people creating the same content without any influence from the other.

Remember, if in doubt, consult your local copyright society or lawyer.



 11:31 am on Sep 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi everyone,

Thank you for your views, this has been a worry for me because the competitor contacted my hosting company quoting
legal jarrgon:

(one thing I must point out the competitor has just the one page on this town and is in the form of a list with links, mysite was up to 260 pages)

As you can see I was worried, and have asked my hosting company to suspend my site for now, after recieving the e-mail from my hosting company.
I have never been formal or informal contacted by this person but seems to know his stuff.

As regards of why add the content, well my competitor has a list only, I to have lists on separate pages for the category with photos, on clicking on one of the pub names in my list you are taken to a page containing telephone numbers, postal address and in some cases a photo.

Have considered my options, and thought of stripping out the current list and formal contacting every proprietor and inviting them to be listed on my site, most of these do not have websites and would probably appreciate being listed in such away.

But how do I reply to my hosting company as I sure thay would not want to get in any legal issues if I was to keep the catergorys? and to my competitor?

[edited by: Woz at 11:34 am (utc) on Sep. 27, 2003]
[edit reason] sorry, no Email quotations per TOS#9 [/edit]


 11:38 am on Sep 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

You are quite at liberty to create a site on the same subject as another site as long as you do not copy material from another site. If your content has been created from scratch and there is no resemblance to another site then you have no problem.

Given the correspondance you have received, I suggest you obtain councel from a legal authority on this matter.

N.B., for the sake of this discussion, please let's keep it on a general level without specifics.



 2:17 pm on Sep 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think Woz is right on track ... Since your competitor seems to be swatting at flies with sledgehammers, go ahead and spend $200 on an hour's worth of time with a lawyer on this one ... it'd be well worth it to CYA from the get-go.

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