Re: [Rd] R datasets ownership(copyright) and license

From: Ted Byers <>
Date: Tue, 03 Apr 2012 18:03:31 -0400

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> On Behalf Of Hadley Wickham
> Sent: April-03-12 5:01 PM
> To:;; Dirk
> Eddelbuettel
> Subject: Re: [Rd] R datasets ownership(copyright) and license
> > 2. we considered all datasets factual data thus not copyrightable (in
> >   USA? around the globe?)
> This is definitely true in the US, but not true globally. I have no idea
> which jurisdiction a lawsuit would apply.
> Hadley

Why worry about jurisdictions in which you neither work nor live?

I would expect such rationality (factual data not being copyrightable) in the US, Canada, Europe and Australasia, so they're not likely an issue. And I doubt any such country would try to impose their laws on someone living and working elsewhere. In many parts of Asia, where I have lived and worked at least, copyright violation is rampant, and the perpetrators face no real consequences; at least none I could see.

As for banana republics, such as many countries in the Muslim world, like Iran, I really don't care what their laws have to say. They do have a history of trying to impose their lunacy on the rest of the world (as illustrated in the death threats from Muslim religious authorities against the Danish cartoonists or Salmon Rushdie). There are early histories of the Byzantine empire, that are about as factual as such documents of that age can be, but publishing some of them in a Muslim country could get you killed because they record 'crimes' committed by 'Muslim hordes'. There were riots in many Muslim countries not so long ago just because the Pope at the time quoted one of those histories. I can't imagine any western democracy helping some back-water banana republic to impose sharia law, or any other madness masquerading as law, on its own citizens. I don't believe this due to an irrational belief in the benevolence of such governments but rather because I expect they would take a dim view of such egregious extra-territoriality that such banana republics would be attempting.

My point is simply that if I have data, or other information, that I want to publish, and Canadian law says it is not copyrightable because it is factual data, then great; and if some back-water banana republic objects then I'd be quite happy to tell them were to go and what to do with themselves when they get there. As a Canadian citizen living and working in Canada, only Canadian law applies to me. If Canadian law tells me that X is merely factual data and thus not copyrightable, then that is enough.


Ted mailing list Received on Tue 03 Apr 2012 - 22:11:23 GMT

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