Indexing copyright materials

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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monsieur_java
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Indexing copyright materials

Post by monsieur_java » Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:59 pm

Hi

I was wondering if it would be legal to index copyright materials, without showing their contents.

Say, I have access to tons of material which refer to particular verses of the Bible. Some of this material is under copyright. I would like to index this material (commentaries, studies, scholarly articles, etc.) in order to help users find passages in the Bible.

In other words, I have a Bible A and copyright materials X,Y,Z. I extract and index data from X,Y,Z. If a user searches something that is mentioned in X,Y,Z, I display the correct verse in Bible A.

I'm not intending to display/offer the copyright material (for download or any other means). I'll only be using it to analyse the work and then build some suitable search index.

I guess this is similar to indexing page number references in 1 copyright material and displaying the actual page that the work is referring to?

Chris

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:05 pm

Hi Chris
I don't think that what you propose should infringe anyone's copyright as long as you only reference the barest minimum of a title or abstract of contents from the material, sufficient for the user to adequately identify it from their search term. This is somewhat like the results you get using Google: a few words from a site entry which appears to match the user's search terms, although in your case the result should be a cross-reference to a Bible passage.
One thing slightly concerns me and that is your mention of Bible A. If you are using one particular published edition of the Bible, be careful not to quote too much if any of the Bible text, if it is markedly different from more standard versions such as the King James or the New English Bible. However I assume that the book, chapter, verse citations will work equally well with most Bibles. Although we assume that the Bible is in the public domain, some editions have sufficient additional notation or commentary in them to attract copyright.
And finally when you have completed your project you will have a database which is subject to protection in its own right. This is called database right and rests upon your skill and judgement in choosing and assembling the data which will populate the database. You can read more about this protection here: The Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations 1997
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

monsieur_java
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Thanks for the reply

Post by monsieur_java » Sat Sep 07, 2013 8:16 pm

Hi

Thanks for the reply - that makes sense. In terms of showing the Bible texts, yes, there are copyright issues to be aware of and I have the right set of permissions in place to display some of these (i.e. obtained them from various copyright holders/publishers + public domain domain Bibles).

The analogy with Google helps (although I guess in that case the search results are references to the actual material in question - in my case, I'd simply be referencing other Bible texts).
Chris

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