Facts And Research; Historical Events

Facts are considered to be in the public domain.  They are not protectible under copyright law.  The public has the right to discover facts and exchange ideas freely.  Even if some facts were discovered as the product of long and hard work, they are not entitled to protection under copyright laws.

An author’s original compilation, arrangement, or selection of facts may be the subject of copyright, but not the facts themselves.  According to the law, one can copy elements that are not original from a prior author’s work including facts or materials in the public domain.  The use of such elements should not unfairly appropriate the author’s original contributions.  A person has the right to use facts contained in a copyrighted article and use that information, whether correct or incorrect, in his or her own literary work.  Copyright protection does not extend to news events or the facts or ideas which are the subject of news reports.  However, protection under copyright laws does extend to the reports themselves.

A rendition of historical facts or explanatory hypothesis is not copyrightable, because historical facts and events are in the public domain.  A second author of a work devoted to historical subject may make significant use of prior work, but should not bodily appropriate the expression of another.

Biographical works are personal histories and two biographies of one individual can be similar in content.  Therefore, a biographer is entitled to copyright protection of his or her literal form of expression if it evidences originality.


Inside Facts And Research; Historical Events