Copyright and CAS Numbers

There’s discussion all over the chemical blogosphere at the moment about copyright and CAS numbers Chemspider’s Tony Williams first broached the subject in his blog and has followed up here. Cameron neylon has touched on the issue here as too have PeterMR and Kurt Wegner. If I’ve missed any links, please leave a reference to your post in the comments.

Anyway, here’s a thought…

Thumbnails (i.e. reduced size) versions of photos, images, and other visual creative works were recently the subject of a court case in the US, I believe. The judge suggested that displaying a thumbnail of an image was not a breach of copyright.

CAS registry numbers, InChIs, DOI’s and other such “creative works” might, in some sense, be considered an analog of an image thumbnail, and therefore may fall outside of a copyright claim similarly. Has anyone got the legal prowess to test such a case.

However, in writing this comment it occurred to me that there may be a more fundamental factor that would preclude CAS numbers being copyrighted. Aren’t they generated sequentially and automatically? If so, then perhaps they don’t fall under the description of “creative works” and therefore may not be copyrightable at all.

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6 thoughts on “Copyright and CAS Numbers

  1. CAS has budged – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAS_registry_number

    “CAS, a division of the American Chemical Society, is pleased to announce that it will contribute to the Wikipedia project. CAS will work with Wikipedia to help provide accurate CAS Registry NumbersĀ® for current substances listed in Wikiprojects-Chemicals section of the Wikipedia Chemistry Portal that are of widespread general public interest.”

    More on this here

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