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Re: GNU Free Database License

From: Merijn de Weerd
Subject: Re: GNU Free Database License
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2006 15:03:54 +0200
User-agent: slrn/ (FreeBSD)

On 2006-09-17, Alfred M. Szmidt <> wrote:
> Well, a photo isn't a "fact", while a dictionary is a list of facts
> (definitins).  And you cannot copyright a fact (or has this been
> changed recently?), like the fact that "hello is a common greeting
> used in the English language".  

Sure, that's a fact. But how I _write down_ the fact can be
a creative expression. Do I say "hello is a common greeting"
or do I add its etymology, a comparison with other languages,
an explanation of when "hello" is more appropriate than
"good day", "hi" and other greetings?

Merriam-Webster for example defines "hello" as
"an expression or gesture of greeting -- used interjectionally in
greeting, in answering the telephone, or to express surprise" has no less than 6 definitions, like
"  1. (used to express a greeting, answer a telephone, or attract
   2. (an exclamation of surprise, wonder, elation, etc.)
   3. (used derisively to question the comprehension, intelligence, or
   common sense of the person being addressed): You're gonna go out
   with him? Hello!"

Other dictionaries have yet other definitions. The mere fact
that everyone gives the definition in other words already shows
there's creativity and originality involved in the choice of
words. So M-W has a copyright on its definition,
similarly has one on the definitions it provides, and so on.

Still, everyone is free to write their own definitions of course.


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