Copyright Infringement and Charts

Asked over 1 year ago - Providence, RI

We are a consulting firm that subscribes to a number of data sources. We wanted to take some of the data we subscribe to and create some graphs for use on our website, to be referenced by our clients. Is using subscription data to create a publicly viewable chart a copyright infringement issue? We do not intent to provide the underlying data, and plan to cite the source.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Daniel Nathan Ballard

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The general answer is that, no, creating a chart that displays factual data does not raise any copyright infringement concerns. Copyright does not attach to facts. And changing the way those facts are displayed from the way they were originally presented is allowed even assuming that the the particular way they were originally presented is copyrightable. There is likely much more to this scenario than you're disclosing so you need to pass this question along to your own copyright attorney.

    That being said, you may be contractually restricted from re-publishing the data -- even in the form of a chart. Your attorney needs to review the agreement between you and the data provider(s).

    The above is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and... more
  2. Frank A. Natoli


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I tend to agree with Mr. Ballard. I would add that where the info even if general factual info requires a subscription to access you need to consider carefully whether you are contractually prohibited from exploiting whatever that is.

    Keep in mind as well that even if you have a very good defense in such an action the firm from which the info was captured may not agree and force you to defend in court.

    It might be in your interest to consult your own lawyer in private just to better understand the limits of what you can do without issue.

    Most of us here, including myself, offer a free phone consult.

    Best regards,
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC
    (see Disclaimer)

    The law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC (Home of Lantern Legal Services) offers our flat-rate legal services in the... more

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