Subject: Re: the value chain
From: Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com>
Date: 10 Dec 1999 12:56:46 -0500

   Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 09:52:44 -0800
   From: "Tim O'Reilly" <tim@oreilly.com>

   > Based on your description, they're selling a service, not control over
   > the data.  The service is better access to the data.
   > 
   > Anybody else could go into competition with them by scanning in the
   > decisions themselves.  I don't see how a database copyright could
   > prevent that, any more than the existing compilation copyright can
   > prevent someone from putting together their own compilation.  A
   > copyright, unlike a patent, controls copying, not recreation of the
   > same data by another means.

   That's actually not true.  Their numbering system has become the
   standard for legal citation, and they have sued (successfully) to keep
   others from using this numbering system, which they have copyrighted,
   thus essentially taking the public domain data private.  In order to
   break their monopoly, people will have to deliver substantially better
   access to the data, enough better to supercede the benefits of using
   their standard citation approach...

Hmmm, after my previous message I was told in private e-mail that they
sued *unsuccessfully*, and that their support of database copyright
was to permit them to win in the future.  (To which I responded that I
didn't think the legal profession would permit this sort of public
data to be locked up in a proprietary fashion).

Can anybody confirm whether they won or lost in their previous suit?

Ian