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06 January 2012

You Cannot Copyright A Fact

A complete discussion of copyright is beyond Tip of the Day. However, you cannot copyright the fact that James Rampley was born in Harford County, Maryland, in 1803. Facts cannot be copyrighted. However, if there is no record of birth for James and you analyze fifty records that provide indirect evidence of his birth and you write up a several paragraph argument showing why he was born in 1803, then that argument and that phrasing of words and ideas you have copyright to.

But if you were the first person to "prove" James was born in 1803, you cannot copyright  that fact and get paid every time someone uses it.

Otherwise, yours truly would copyright the fact that two plus two is four.

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