You are here

17.14 Compilation (17 U.S.C. § 101)

Printer-friendly version

17.14 COMPILATION (17 U.S.C. § 101)

An owner is entitled to copyright protection of a compilation. A compilation is a work formed by the collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that are selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship.

The owner of a compilation may enforce the right to exclude others in an action for copyright infringement.


Facts and ideas are not copyrightable, but compilations of facts may be copyrightable even where the underlying facts are not. See CDN Inc. v Kapes, 197 F.3d 1256, 1259–61 (9th Cir.1999) (choosing and weighing prices to derive a best estimate of coin prices satisfied requisite level of originality for copyright as a compilation); Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co., 499 U.S. 340, 344 (1991) (factual compilations sufficiently original to be a compilation if choices as to selection and arrangement of facts are independently made by the compiler). Copyright in a compilation "extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work...." Lamps Plus, Inc. v. Seattle Lighting Fixture Co., 345 F.3d 1140, 1146 (9th Cir.2003) (citing 17 U.S.C. § 103(b)). The term "compilation" includes collective works. See also 17 U.S.C. § 101.

For Ninth Circuit cases considering compilations, see Bibbero Systems, Inc. v. Colwell Systems, Inc., 893 F.2d 1104, 1108 n.3 (9th Cir.1990) (blank forms with "instructions . . . far too simple to be copyrightable"); Harper House, Inc. v. Thomas Nelson, Inc., 889 F.2d 197, 204–07 (9th Cir.1989) (collection of "common property" such as standard calendars, area code maps, etc., and blank forms, although not individually copyrightable, may be selected, coordinated or arranged in such a way that they are copyrightable as a compilation).