In deciding whether a directory or other fact-based work is copyrightable, the determining factor is its originality. In this regard, a telephone directory is copyrightable when it contains some foreword text and original material in its yellow page advertisements. However, the names, towns, and telephone numbers listed alphabetically according to name in the directory’s white pages are not protected by copyright. This is because the names, towns, and telephone numbers listed in the directory are not original to the telephone company and are merely facts. In addition, the telephone company did not select, coordinate, or arrange these facts in an original way in order to satisfy the minimum standards for copyright protection.
Catalogs containing clear descriptions of products are subject to copyright.
A catalog containing stock figures, commodity sales or the results of a baseball game are not copyrightable.
Manuals received with appliances, machinery, or toys having description of parts which may be assembled in various ways or showing different models are subjects of copyright.