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A compilation is "an aggregation of preexisting unclassified items of information."[1]

A compilation is

[i]nformation resulting from assembly of selected information elements or information requirements from multiple sources.[2]


A compilation is

[s]election, assembly, and graphic presentation of all relevant information required for the preparation of a map or chart. Such information may be derived from other maps or charts or from other sources.[3]

U.S. copyright law[]

A compilation as:

a work formed by the collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that are selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship. The term "compilation" includes collective works.[4]

Overview (U.S. copyright law)[]

A compilation "results from a process of selecting, bringing together, organizing, and arranging previously existing material of all kinds, regardless of whether the individual items in the material have been or ever could have been subject to copyright."[5] Directories, databases, magazines and anthologies are types of compilations.

The copyright in a compilation . . . extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material.[6]


  1. Executive Order 13526, at §6.1(j).
  2. Capstone Requirements Document: Global Information Grid (GIG) 69 (JROCM 134-01) (Aug. 30, 2001) (unclassified) (full-text).
  3. NATO Standardization Agency, NATO Glossary of Terms and Definitions 2-C-11 (2008) (full-text).
  4. 17 U.S.C. §101.
  5. M. Kramer Mfg. Co. v. Andrews, 783 F.2d 421, 437 n.16, 228 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 705 (4th Cir. 1986) (full-text) (citation omitted).
  6. 17 U.S.C. §103(b).

See also[]