[cc-community] Collections [was: Re: public performance and GPL]

Rob Myers rob at robmyers.org
Sat Jan 14 11:46:07 EST 2012

On 14/01/12 15:09, drew Roberts wrote:
> Does copyright law give copyright protection to any collections as collections 
> and not to the individual things in the collection.
> If not then all someone would have had to do to negate my argument/suggestion 
> is to point out that collections cannot get copyright protection.
> If at least some collections get copyright protection, then where are the 
> flaws in my thinking?

The relevant part of the Berne convention is 2.5 :


"(5) Collections of literary or artistic works such as encyclopaedias
and anthologies which, by reason of the selection and arrangement of
their contents, constitute intellectual creations shall be protected as
such, without prejudice to the copyright in each of the works forming
part of such collections."

So note that a) some collections will be insufficiently creative to get
copyright and b) those that are will not be derivatives/adaptations of
the works they collect.

> You did not actually answer that question with a:
> Yes, Amazon gets a copyright on that collection of two books.
> or a:
> No, Amazon does not get a copyright on that collection of two books.
> Since I feel so misunderstood over so long a period of time in this area (a 
> period of years now) please for the sake of ultimate clarity answer it those 
> terms.

"No, Amazon does not get a copyright on that collection of two books."

Because they are not a copyright "collection" like an anthology or an
encyclopaedia, chosen and arranged creatively by an author. They are a
contingent physical "collection" like a library or Amazon's warehouse.

All that said, NC places conditional restrictions on copying based on
context. A work copied within a collection is still being copied. Alan's
answer of 2012-01-13  where he says:

"You will not get very far trying to create a copyright license that
says "and you may not use other unrelated item XYZ is you copy this".
You need contract law for that. A copyright license can only give away
or waive rights that the copyright holder has. It cannot impose new ones
and is fairly closely constrained."

Seems to imply that NC would also require contract law. So *I'm*
certainly missing something in the logic of this conversation. :-)

- Rob.

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