ACT New Business Idea - Copyright Issues?

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Active Member
19 August 2014
I would like to create a website which I can sell subscriptions to.

On the website I would like to create a database which lists names from books and the title of the book to make it easier for the person, who has purchased a subscription, to find and reference.

No other material is referenced from the book - only the name and the number of pages it appears on.

The database is not browseable. It can only be found by searching for a specific name so no one can view the database in its entirety.

John Smith, 2 pages, 'Sample Book'
John Smith, 1 page, 'Sample Book 2'
John Smith, 3 pages, 'Sample Book 3'

I've read the information from the IceTV v Channel 9, and the Telstra directories case information.

I believe I am only stating a fact and that the name is not protected by copyright. Or am I wrong in thinking this?

Many thanks for any assistance.

Sarah J

Well-Known Member
16 July 2014
Melbourne, Victoria

Is your database going to be listing names of people and identifying in which books and pages within the book that name appears?

If this is the case, I believe you should not have any problems with copyright. As long as you are not including extracts from these books on your website, I do believe names and pages are not protected by copyright.

However, hopefully someone else on here with a better knowledge in copyright law can confirm this.



Yes as Sarah J pointed out, copyright will exist in the books themselves that you are referencing however as long as you are not quoting extracts from the books themselves you should be fine. Just names and page numbers would not normally infringe copyright, as they do not represent a reproduction of the intellectual creation of the person who wrote the books.

However, as far as directories themselves go, the case of Telstra Corporation Limited v Phone Directories Company Pty Ltd [2010] FCA 44. (which you have referred to) held that copyright does not subsist in directories such as Yellow Pages, because the author of each of the directories had not been (and could not be) identified. These directories in particular were created through a computer automated system which did not allow any independent intellectual contributions from human contributors. Therefore they are not copyright. The implication of this case for you is that you will likely not own any copyrights to the directory that you create. However if you are obtaining the content of your directory from someone else's directory then it likely isn't copyrighted information, and you are free to use it.
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