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Is this fair/ethical?

     
3:25 pm on Jun 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Hi, say that I have a site all about widgets. Would it be fair/ethical to scout around the net/directories and compile a big free directory of all widget sellers internationally? (simply name, phone number and address).The widget sellers could then, if they wanted, upgrade at a later date to a premium listing for a fee.
- Is it copyright/theft in getting the original list?
- Would it be that the widget sellers may get upset at having been put on the site as a free listing in the first place without first being asked? (I'd have thought they'd be happy?)
3:35 pm on June 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I think it is not ethical to publish other's properties without their consent. That would violate their copyrights.
3:41 pm on June 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

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as long as you really compile that list yourself (and not just copy three other lists and merge them), you don't violate anyones copyright, and in fact, can claim copyright on that list yourself.
I doubt that many sellers would get upset if you commercialized your service at some point. They don't have to be listed on your site, and if they are and it generats sales, they should be more than happy to pay to keep that going.
4:21 pm on June 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I was under the impression that one cannot copyright a list of data. A list of widget makers is like a phonebook compilation. It's the comments that can be copyrightable, not the actual data sourced from several place. If such data were copyrightable, a lot of directories and sites like Wikepedia would be in violation.
4:55 pm on June 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'm not sure about international laws, but german urheberrecht does apply to compilations of data as well, so compiling a list would be protected. I don't think that directories would be in violation, unless they just copied another directory, in which case they should be in trouble.
7:07 pm on June 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Compiling lists are a great idea. Also creates opportunities for you to publish this list on other sites such as article syndication sites. I would be surprised if creating a list was a legal problem. And if a company sends you a letter and asks for you to take them off the list, just take them off the list. That's there loss :)
7:22 pm on June 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thanks guys. I agree with previous comments that, if someone does want to be taken off the directory, then that would of course happen ASAP at their request.
So compiling a list myself (ie in my own colours, table format etc) by using info from other peoples lists/directories is OK, as long as I haven't just cut and pasted someone else's list? BTW - the list would be for UK and US, web based from UK if that makes any difference?
Thanks
7:40 pm on June 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

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So compiling a list myself (ie in my own colours, table format etc) by using info from other peoples lists/directories is OK, as long as I haven't just cut and pasted someone else's list?

erm, no. changing the colors is not "compiling".

3:49 am on June 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I was under the impression that one cannot copyright a list of data.

It depends.

And the presentation of the data is certainly copyright protected.

FarmBoy