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Copyright Infringement and Charts

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.

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Attorney answers 2


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 should NOT be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney. You should seek the advice of competent counsel before taking any action related to your inquiry.


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
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The law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC (Home of Lantern Legal Services) offers our flat-rate legal services in the areas of business law and intellectual property to entrepreneurs, small-to-medium size businesses, independent inventors and artists across the nation and abroad. Feel free to call for a free phone consultation; your inquiries are always welcome: CONTACT: 866-871-8655 DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis of this posting.

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