No copyright in White or Yellow Pages databases

Telstra Corporation Limited v Phone Directories Company Pty Ltd [2010] FCA 44

Justice Gordon in applying IceTV Pty Limited v Nine Network Australia Pty Limited [2009] HCA 14; (2009) 254 ALR 386 has found that there is no copyright in the data contained in the White Pages or Yellow Pages directories.

The rationale for this is that they are not original literary works within the meaning of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) because it could not be identified who the human authors were and further even the authors could be identified it could not be shown that prior to the directories taking form there was:

  • “independent intellectual effort” or
  • “substantial effort of a literary nature”


Appreciably, this decision has substantial consequences for those who deal in databases.

Brisbane Barrister – David Cormack

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