Monday, November 25, 2013

Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service Co. case brief

Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service Co. case brief summary
499 U.S. 340 (1991)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Petitioner publishing company sought review by certiorari of a judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which affirmed a grant of summary judgment in favor of respondent phone company in a suit by respondent against petitioner for copyright infringement that arose after petitioner published a directory compiled with information taken from the white pages compiled and published by respondent.

CASE FACTS
Respondent sued petitioner for copyright infringement because petitioner had used information contained in its white pages in the compilation of its own directory.

DISCUSSION

  • The court reversed a grant of summary judgment in favor of respondent because the selection, coordination, and arrangement of respondent's white pages did not satisfy the minimum constitutional standards for copyright protection. 
  • Specifically, the court found that respondent's white pages, which contained only factual information, i.e., phone numbers, addresses, and names listed in alphabetical order, lacked the requisite originality because respondent had not selected, coordinated, or arranged the uncopyrightable facts in any original way.
CONCLUSION
The court reversed the judgment.

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