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Can You Copyright Survey Data?


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#1 doogie88

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 12:07 PM

I'm thinking of running a couple surveys which will be pretty unique in my area, and will post the data on my site, which I think will benefit a lot of people, and will find very interesting.

Can you copyright survey data if it is just numbers?

One survey I'm going to run is going to also rank products, for cost, effectiveness, side effects, etc like:

Protein
Creatine
Mass gainer

And it will have different categories for each, and the survey will have the user rate each one in each categorie from 1-10. So say protein will have, "Cost: 4 (average score from all users)"
Can you copyright something like that because I don't want it used without my permission.

#2 mcanerin

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 12:06 PM

General rule of thumb: you can't copyright data. You can copyright analysis.

Copyright is based on the idea of human creativity. Data is just data. As long as a human is not just making the numbers up (which would be pretty useless) it can't be copyrighted. Even basic reporting of the data has been ruled as not sufficiently creative to fall under copyright law.

Where it gets messy is that at a certain point the types of reporting can eventually become creative enough to be protected, and that point is legally unclear.

It sounds like if the chart you are making is organized well enough that it may be copyrightable. The actual data, however, would not be.

Ian

#3 doogie88

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 01:13 PM

Thank you.




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