Can a Password be Copyrighted?

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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keith_12345
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Can a Password be Copyrighted?

Post by keith_12345 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:48 pm

Can a password be copyrighted?

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Wed Jan 25, 2017 8:17 pm

Hi Keith,

I would say it was most unlikely that a single word, however creative and original, could ever qualify for copyright. The Court of Justice of the European Union has said in the past that as few as 11 words (in a newspaper headline, in that instance) could be subject to copyright, but I think that any fewer would fall into the de minimis category - that is to say too trivial for the courts to consider hearing a claim of infringement, hence effectively even if copyright was claimed, it would be unenforcible.

In certain contexts it is possible that a password might be considered as a trade secret which would afford it some protection from being divulged to someone not authorised to receive it, and also there would be times when people who legitimately knew a password might owe a duty of confidence (say to a company or their employer) not to reveal it to unauthorised person.
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

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