copyright and website collations of data / product attributes

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  • Hello,

    I am looking to set up a website around a collation of data on some special types of commercial chemical products. In the collation (=database) would be data (=facts, in a copyright sense?) about these products, such as manufacturer + website, product name, product density, color, uses,.....

    The data would be obtained from manufacturers' websites and press releases, published brochures and appplication notes, scientific and technical literature, etc., and would be input manually (and tediously) into a database and presented on a website of my own design, layout and functionalty.

    So my question: is this collation likely to infringe in any way on anyone's copyright?

    I've looked through a number of forums but haven't seen quite the question I'm asking addressed. Does anyone have experience with such a website? I would appreciate any comments or suggestions.

  • My not-a-lawyer response to your question "is this collation likely to infringe in any way on anyone's copyright?" is "it depends". Some of the information you are collating sounds purely factual and therefore not subject to copyright protection. Examples of such purely factual information would be manufacturer name, website, product name, product density, color. But once this data dips into the realm of analysis or interpretation -- information that could be copyright-protectable -- you run a higher risk of copyright infringement. In particular, 'uses' might qualify for copyright protection.

    Have you considered obtaining permission from the manufacturer's to include their data in your website? It might a more prudent way to go, and the added publicity/promotion of their product might be very welcome.

    Finally, you did not indicate whether your website is educational, commercial or something else. Your intentions for your website would become a factor in deciding whether the use of certain protected information would qualify as 'fair use'.

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