Telstra loses yellow and white pages copyright case

TELSTRA’s yellow and white pages are not copyrighted under Federal Court rules.

EVERYONE can now copy and reuse the listings in the yellow pages and white pages, after a court ruled they are not copyrighted.

This decision opens the way for other publishers and software manufacturers to use the information contained in the directories in a range of new products.

The shutdown also has far-reaching implications as it may mean that businesses that simply put together a database of facts – like auctions or sports scores – without any other “literary effort” may not be in. able to protect information by copyright.

A collection of facts could be reused in websites, smartphone apps and other publications without authorization or payment to the organization that originally compiled the data.

The loss of Telstra and its Sensis directory unit came after the group sued local directory publishers for using information from the yellow pages and white pages.

Telstra had argued that the Yellow Pages and White Pages listings – including its database of names and addresses – were covered by copyright law and could not be legally copied by other parties. .

But Judge Michelle Gordon rejected this argument.

“None of the works were original,” Justice Gordon said in her judgment this week.

“None of the so-called authors of the works exerted ‘an independent intellectual effort’ or ‘a sufficient effort of a literary nature’ to create the (repertoires). ‘

“Further, if necessary, the creation of the works did not involve a ‘creative spark’ or the exercise of the required ‘skill and judgment’.”

A lawyer who acted on behalf of local directories said the ruling could affect copyright laws regarding other private databases, The Australian Financial Review reports.

Sensis told the newspaper he would consider appealing the decision.

Read the full Federal Court decision on copyright.

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Calvin W. Soper

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