The IT Law Wiki

Overview (Copyright)[]

Facts are not copyrightable. "The reason for this rule is that the law of copyright is founded on originality of expression — facts, by their nature, are never original to an author.”[1]

Much of what makes the Internet useful is the ability to pull down timely information on a moment’s notice. Much timely information is factual: weather, sports scores, locations, directions, forecasts, departure times, maps, etc.

The general prohibition against copyrighting facts, and the Feist[2] prohibition against protecting the “sweat of the brow” under copyright, prevents copyright protection for facts. In the absence of other forms of protection, such as for factual databases, Website owners who would like to charge for essentially factual material find it difficult to do so.


  1. Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc. v. Comline Bus. Data, Inc., 166 F.3d 65, 70 (2d Cir. 1999) (full-text).
  2. 499 U.S. 340, 344 (1991) (full-text).

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