December 04, 2004

FairTest Challenges College Board Copyright Claim

A letter from The College Board, alleging copyright violations arising from publication of data about its test results has been challenged by The National Center for Fair and Open Testing ("FairTest").

According to a copy FairTest published of The College Board's letter of October 27, 2004, FairTest's presentation of data from the 2004 SAT scores, broken down by gender, ethnicity and family income, violates The College Board's copyright. According to FairTest's letter of response, dated November 30, 2004, "the raw data on SAT scores, from which this chart is derived, are widely available in the public domain, having previously been published by a variety of news media outlets and research journals, they are not subject to copyright protection."

FairTest, a long-time critic of The College Board, said they would continue publishing the data. Source: College Board Letter Press Release at

(read more ... )

Copyright protection of the contents of databases has been a controversial topic for some years. Those whose livelihood depends upon revenues from licensing data argue that data should be protected under current law, or that the law should be changed to provide such protection. Critics of such laws point to the impairment of scholarship and critical commentatary that could result from laws that allow punishment of those who republish known facts, as well as the philosophical problems of a concept of "ownership of facts".

Among the online sources for further study of this topic are:

  • Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 499 U.S. 340 (1991), (copyright protection extends only to the original expression of factual data, not to the facts themselves)
  • WIPO Database Proposal and HR 3531 at Stanford University Library
  • Database Legal Protection at BitLaw, A Resource on Technology Law
  • Copyright Law at IP Watchdog
  • Database Protection Proposals Page at Hyperlaw

    Posted by dougsimpson at December 4, 2004 11:40 AM | TrackBack
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