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Re: GNU Free Database License

From: Merijn de Weerd
Subject: Re: GNU Free Database License
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2006 21:26:28 +0200
User-agent: slrn/ (FreeBSD)

On 2006-09-17, Alfred M. Szmidt <> wrote:
>    I'm not sure what you mean by "presented", but M-W has a copyright
>    on its particular entry for "hello". The above from your CED is too
>    short to be creative, so it's not copyrighted. But I would not call
>    M-W's text a "presentation".
> What if my CED contains "over 30,000 entries" like that?  Would that
> in your opinion be copyrightable?  I don't think it would.

Size doesn't matter. A haiku is only 3 lines yet covered
by copyright. A phonebook of the entire USA probably
weighs more than I do but is not covered.

The only criterion the law has is whether you were original
and creative in your expression. Did you write a purely
factional, straightforward definition that anyone would give,
or did you think about it and apply your own unique view
to give the definition?

For example, a straightforward definition of "hello" would
probably say "casual greeting or expression of surprise".
But to make a definition that also covers the somewhat-angry
"hellooooo!" takes a bit more work. And you'd probably
write that differently than I would, so we both get a copyright
on our definitions.

Well, if you want to call the OED and M-W a "word encyclopedia"
and not a dictionary, I guess we are on the same page. OED entries
are copyrighted, the short phrases from a "simple dictionary" 
are not.


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