[Bell Historians] proto-National Bell Register work

John Camp camp at ...
Thu Sep 29 18:19:33 BST 2005

At 17:21 on 29 September 2005, Robert Lewis wrote:

> I am not a lawyer and presumably neither are you. However, I suspect that
> there are aspects of the Dove copyright that are enforceable. Perhaps John
> Camp can give us a ruling!

When I practised as a copyright lawyer, I used to charge large sums of
money for this sort of thing.

The important principle to remember is that there is no copyright in
information, only in the way in which it is expressed. What is
protected by the copyright in 'Dove' is the whole compilation, so
reproduction of a substantial part of it would be an infringement.
Quoting or using items of data from it would not be. (The same applies
if you regard it as a database, rather than as a printed work.)

In English law, there is no such thing as 'copyrighting' something.
Either copyright exists or it doesn't.

And, of course, copyright protects only against copying. If you
produce identical information through your own efforts, then there is
no infringement. (Unlike patents, where copying isn't necessary in
order to infringe.)

People always want black-and-white answers to legal questions.
Generally,there aren't any. Infringement is a question of fact and

I've just seen Mark Humphreys's contribution, which is basically
correct, except when he says:

"If, however, you followed their exact formatting, you would be
infringing copyright (if such copyright were claimed)."

Not so. You would be infringing copyright whether it is claimed or
not. There is no need to claim it (see above).

John Camp


More information about the Bell-historians mailing list