Old Trade Directories

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Paul33
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Old Trade Directories

Post by Paul33 »

If I purchase a CD on which there is a scanned copy of a 19th century trade directory, are the seller's claims of copyright valid or nonsense ?

In other words, am I free to sell my own copies given that I'm fairly certain the old book is well out of copyright ?
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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ »


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
Paul33
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Post by Paul33 »

Thanks for your help.

The CD simply has a single PDF image with scanned images of all the pages within the file. There is no added functionality of any sort.
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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ »

Hi Paul,

It's not the functionality which would concern me. As can be seen from the court case to which I referred, a single pdf which contains a substantial array of data can constitute a database. It doesn't matter that the indivdual data records (ie the trade directory entries) may or may not be protected by copyright, it is the process of amassing and dispalying the data which is key. Clearly the scanning and digization form part of the process of displaying the data. Since neither a CD nor an indivdual pdf can be read directly by the human eye, the format meets the second criterion of being accessible (only) by electronic means.

If just one trade directory has been scanned, I think it is unlikely to reach the threshold of a 'substantial investment' (which incidentally can be measured in either financial or intellectual terms), but I flagged it up because it could be a possible problem, and in an area of the law where we have comparatively little caselaw to go on.
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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