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ProCD, Inc. v. Zeidenberg - 908 F. Supp. 640 (W.D. Wis. 1996)

Rule:

Facts are not copyrightable; compilations of facts generally are; Without originality, time and effort do not factor into the copyright equation; A claim for copyright infringement requires proof of 1) plaintiff's ownership of a valid copyright; and 2) defendant's copying of original elements of plaintiff's work.

Facts:

Plaintiff complained defendants violated the Copyright Act, and contract and tort law when defendants copied plaintiff's CD-ROM telephone listings and posted them on the Internet. Plaintiff and defendants cross-moved for summary judgment. The court granted summary judgment for defendant on the ground that defendants' actions were protected because they used plaintiff's software only to download and access its data.

Issue:

Does the use of plaintiff’s software to download and access its data constitute protected action?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The court granted summary judgment for defendants because defendants' actions were protected by Copyright Act, defendants were not bound by user agreement, and plaintiff's state law claims were preempted by Copyright Act. Defendants were not bound by a user agreement under the Uniform Commercial Code because defendants had no opportunity to bargain or object to the user agreement and did not explicitly assent to its terms. Because plaintiff's state law rights were equivalent to rights protected by the Copyright Act, the Act preempted plaintiff's claims for breach of contract, misappropriation, and violations of the Wisconsin Computer Crimes Act.

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