Subject: Re: the value chain
From: "Tim O'Reilly" <>
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 09:52:44 -0800

Ian Lance Taylor wrote:
> 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...

Tim O'Reilly @ O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
101 Morris Street, Sebastopol, CA 95472
+1 707-829-0515, FAX +1 707-829-0104,