The Supreme Court rejected the notion that copyrights should be granted to those whose only claim to copyright is that they gathered information.
Rural Telephone Service Company published a directory containing information that Feist Publications used in preparing its own somewhat different but overlapping directory. Rural sued, alleging copyright infringement and arguing that the effort they made to collect even public domain data was entitled to copyright protection. The Supreme Court did not accept Rural’s view, asserting the more traditional view that quality or creativity was entitled to copyright protection but not the simple compilation of material. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
O’Connor, Sandra Day