8th Cir. Says Business Information Database Copyright Eligible

Written May 4, 2020

The US Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit on April 27, 2020, affirmed a Nebraska federal jury’s award of over $11 million in a copyright dispute based on a database of business information. Infogroup Inc. v. DatabaseUSA.com LLC, 8th Cir., No. 18-3723, 4/27/20.

The jury didn’t err in finding that Infogroup Inc.'s database was copyright eligible because it required at least a minimal degree of creativity, the appeals court said.

Infogroup’s founder Vinod Gupta left the company and formed DatabaseUSA, which also compiled a business information database. Infogroup sued DatabaseUSA for copyright infringement for copying its database, and sued Gupta for breaching a separation agreement. 

DatabaseUSA argued on appeal that the database wasn’t eligible for copyright protection because it was “a compilation of facts, not the result of creativity.” But a reasonable juror could find that compiling the database required “an independent selection and arrangement of facts that entail a minimum degree of creativity,” the Eighth Circuit said.