Entrepreneurship 101: Can you copyright data?

At our last Entrepreneurship 101 lecture, we discussed IP management. In the Q&A session, someone asked about “copyright in data.”

Speaker Arshia Tabrizi of Tabrizi Law Offices answered that there is no copyright in “raw data” per se. If it’s a direct, mechanical input and aggregation of data (e.g. recording outside temperatures) then copyright does not apply.

However, he wanted to clarify his answer. “I realized that my answer may have been misleading. In certain circumstances, one can own rights in a ‘compilation of data’ if there is some level of ingenuity (originality) applied to the compilation. As I mentioned to the questioner later, that data may be protected as a trade secret.”

Question of the week
Arshia Tabrizi talked about how various forms of intellectual property are business tools. But in a world of open source and Web 2.0 is IP that important any more? Most investors are still looking for a “sustainable advantage” — how many of you think that IP gives you that?

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