Please, people, read the law and get some expert advice (not RR.com hobbyists - consult competent attorneys) before debating. Better yet, find out what the law is, follow it, and quit beating this dead horse. Title 17 of the United States Code says what it says. No amount of disagreement will change that.
My brother in law is a patent attorney, who, as you recommend above, is a competent attorney and an expert in the field of patent and copyright law. I have "retained" him on multiple occasions to review and assist in these types of issues.
With this in mind, I am going to repost
what I did for you earlier in a different thread regarding this issue:
Sorry Dave, but I am going to have to categorically disagree
with your assertion here.
The United States Supreme Court, in the case Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service
, ruled that "information" is not subject to copyright, and neither is the collection of a set of information. The creative aspects are and can be subject to copyright, however Frequency, System, and talkgroup raw data are prime examples of information and are not subject to copyright - just as phone number, address, and name are not subject to copyright and ruled in the case. End of story, period. The court case is a well documented and principal example of this type situation and definitely applies here.
What would be subject to copyright is the creative aspects of how the *information* was "presented" - i.e. HTML, tables, order, display, user comments, and other creative
So what this means is that if you are presenting facts on your pages, then those factual pieces of information are not subject to copyright. Your process in which you present those facts, order, decisions on whether to include or not, and creative works, are subject to copyright.
Further example... a recipe is a definition of a process, and not subject to copyright, however the words to describe it are, so republishing verbatim a recipe book is a copyright violation, rewriting the complete set of recipes in one's one words would not be. To take this to our example, if I "copied" whole pages of your site and reposted here on our site (html, your words, etc) - then we could be held liable for copyright infringement. If I took every single talkgroup, frequency, and system information set from your site and posted here in our database with my formatting and creative process... well, it's fair game.... it might not be the "nice" thing to do, but legally I would be protected.
...and this is the litmus test I have applied to the data here. I don't mind it at all if someone decides to build a web page of data
from this site. By all means, go for it. I have drawn the line twice and approached folks to cease and desist... one who was downloading PDFs from the site packaging on CDROM and selling as a service on ebay, and another that mirrored the site (all HTML, code etc) on a remote server. Otherwise, and I'll make this clear, steal away on the data.... it was "user" generated content and you are free to repost wherever you want.
And Dave, really, the reality is that you DO at some point rely on FCC data (or your submitters do), and you rely on submitters that probably at times rely on other sources. The copyright argument on radio communications data is ludicrous and a lousy one. One just doesn't build a database from scratch with no involvement from FCC data and just frequency search ranges. You review public records, you talk to public safety officials who provide agency data, and then we all do some sleuthing.