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613.7 Identifying the Author of a Compilation

613.7 Identifying the Author of a Compilation


A compilation “is a work formed by the collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that are selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship.” 17 U.S.C. § 101. A compilation may contain several forms of authorship:


• The selection authorship involved in choosing the preexisting material or data that will be included in the compilation.


• The coordination authorship involved in classifying, categorizing, ordering, or grouping the preexisting material or data.


• The arrangement authorship involved in determining the placement or arrangement of the preexisting material or data within the compilation as a whole.


If the applicant intends to register a compilation, the applicant should provide the name(s) of the author(s) who created the selection, coordination, and/or arrangement that the applicant intends to register.


An applicant may register a compilation together with the material contained therein, provided that (I) the material is copyrightable and (ii) the compilation and the material therein were created by the same author, and/or (iii) the copyright in the compilation and the material therein is owned by the copyright claimant. If so, the applicant should provide the name(s) of the author(s) who created the material that is included in the claim.


Examples:


• Empirical Asset Management created the Copperhead 500, which is a financial index that tracks the performance of the copper industry. Empirical developed the criteria for determining whether a particular company should be included in the index and each year it updates the selection of companies that meet these parameters. Empirical should be named as the author of the selection of companies that are included in the Copperhead Index.


• Finite Financial publishes The Final Word, which is a database that contains the closing price for securities that are traded on various exchanges. Finite creatively selects the securities that are included within the database, organizes them into various original categories, and creatively arranges the closing price for each security in manner that facilitates searching and sorting of the information. Finite should be named as the author of the selection and coordination of the securities, as well as the author of the arrangement of the closing prices. Finite should not be named as the author of the actual prices that are listed in The Final Word, because they are mere facts that are not eligible for copyright protection.

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