[Foundation-l] Issues about Copyright

Andrew Gray andrew.gray at dunelm.org.uk
Thu Jun 25 17:21:54 UTC 2009

2009/6/25 Jimmy Xu <xu.jimmy.wrk at gmail.com>:
> And here is the issue that in Berne Convention Article 2 (8), it says
> "The protection of this Convention shall not apply to news of the day
> or to miscellaneous facts having the character of mere items of press
> information." So whether these kind of stuffs can be used as if they
> were in public domain? Or some other steps has to be taken.

Here's my interpretation of this: there are two sides to copyright,
the "concept" and the expression - the idea, and the way you write it.

If you've written a novel, you have both kinds of copyright. I can't
tell the same story by changing all the words without infringing - the
idea is still the same. If you're just writing about simple factual
information, however, then you don't have copyright in the underlying
facts - but you still have copyright in the way you write about them.

So, a newspaper can't claim copyright on the "concept" of one of its
stories - I can't copyright the idea of writing stories about an
election! - but the actual text of them is still copyrighted, so we
can't simply reprint copies of it as though it were public domain.

> Additionally, if so, that means for a news, the "five Ws" are not
> eligible but the comment by the author is eligible for copyright. Am I
> right? Thanks.

I'd extend "comment" to be "the words they've actually written", but
that's about it. They can't stop you paraphrasing or rewriting it.

- Andrew Gray
  andrew.gray at dunelm.org.uk

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