Scheme registry license Lassi Kortela (07 Aug 2020 10:00 UTC)
Re: Scheme registry license hga@xxxxxx (07 Aug 2020 10:59 UTC)
Re: Scheme registry license Lassi Kortela (07 Aug 2020 11:13 UTC)
Re: Scheme registry license hga@xxxxxx (07 Aug 2020 14:56 UTC) file server? Lassi Kortela (07 Aug 2020 11:36 UTC)
Re: file server? John Cowan (07 Aug 2020 13:59 UTC)
Re: file server? Lassi Kortela (07 Aug 2020 14:11 UTC)
Re: file server? Lassi Kortela (07 Aug 2020 14:13 UTC)
Brief notes on licensing Lassi Kortela (07 Aug 2020 11:46 UTC)
Re: Brief notes on licensing hga@xxxxxx (07 Aug 2020 15:08 UTC)
Scope of the registry, and impact of scope on licensing Lassi Kortela (07 Aug 2020 15:32 UTC)
Re: Scope of the registry, and impact of scope on licensing hga@xxxxxx (07 Aug 2020 16:45 UTC)

Re: Scope of the registry, and impact of scope on licensing hga@xxxxxx 07 Aug 2020 16:45 UTC

> From: Lassi Kortela <>
> Date: Friday, August 07, 2020 10:32 AM
> [ Lots of good stuff. ]
> To import ready-made lists from other sources, John's opinion is that an
> alphabetized list is not copyrightable.

Based on US copyright law, this is generally correct.  The classic
example is phone books, from this 9-0 US Supreme Court decision:,_Inc.,_v._Rural_Telephone_Service_Co.

> Feist Publications, Inc., v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 499
> U.S. 340 (1991), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United
> States establishing that information alone without a minimum of
> original creativity cannot be protected by copyright. In the case
> appealed, Feist had copied information from Rural's telephone
> listings to include in its own, after Rural had refused to license
> the information. Rural sued for copyright infringement. The Court
> ruled that information contained in Rural's phone directory was not
> copyrightable and that therefore no infringement existed.
> [...]
> The case centered on two well-established principles in United
> States copyright law: That facts are not copyrightable, but that
> compilations of facts can be.
> "There is an undeniable tension between these two propositions,"
> Justice O'Connor wrote in her decision. "Many compilations consist
> of nothing but raw data—i.e. wholly factual information not
> accompanied by any original expression. On what basis may one claim
> a copyright upon such work? Common sense tells us that 100
> uncopyrightable facts do not magically change their status when
> gathered together in one place. … The key to resolving the tension
> lies in understanding why facts are not copyrightable: The sine qua
> non of copyright is originality."
> Rural claimed a collection copyright in its directory. The court
> clarified that the intent of copyright law was not, as claimed by
> Rural and some lower courts, to reward the efforts of persons
> collecting information—the so-called "sweat of the brow" or
> "industrious collection" doctrine—but rather "to promote the
> Progress of Science and useful Arts" (U.S. Const. Art. I, § 8,
> cl. 8). That is, to encourage creative expression.
> The standard for creativity is extremely low. It need not be novel,
> rather it only needs to possess a "spark" or "minimal degree" of
> creativity to be protected by copyright.
> In regard to collections of facts, Justice O'Connor stated that
> copyright can only apply to the creative aspects of collection: the
> creative choice of what data to include or exclude, the order and
> style in which the information is presented, etc., but not on the
> information itself. If Feist were to take the directory and
> rearrange it, it would destroy the copyright owned in the
> data. "Notwithstanding a valid copyright, a subsequent compiler
> remains free to use the facts contained in another's publication to
> aid in preparing a competing work, so long as the competing work
> does not feature the same selection and arrangement," Justice
> O'Connor wrote.
> The court ruled that Rural's directory was nothing more than an
> alphabetic list of all subscribers to its service, which it was
> required to compile under law, and that no creative expression was
> involved. The fact that Rural spent considerable time and money
> collecting the data was irrelevant to copyright law, and Rural's
> copyright claim was dismissed.

The above is why it's very possible the Supreme Court will rule that
APIs can be copyright protected, they most certainly "possess a
'spark' or 'minimal degree' of creativity."  (This pertains to a rent
seeking effort by Oracle against Google's Android, but due to unique
US court jurisdiction issues the current decision saying this is so
is not binding on anyone else.)

> Lists with a significant amount of explanatory text might be?

See above, they probably would be covered by copyright.

> In any case, it might be easiest if the entire collection is public
> domain equivalent and we enforce that by any means necessary. After
> all, they're meant to be just lists.

All depends on where we get the data.  POSIX errno defines like
ENOENT? Very possibly covered by the copyright of IEEE and the Open
Group, perhaps depending on if and how they got them from AT&T.

> More complex licensing is reasonable for more complex content. To keep
> the registry simple, I'd prefer to house that content with a other
> projects prepared to tackle complexity on that level.

That sounds like a good way to define what belongs and doesn't belong
in the registry.

- Harold