In order to copyright something, you have to do an innovative change (photocopying doesn't count)

Does converting public domain images into text (through OCR or like wikisource) count as "innovative change" and put a copyright on the resultant text?

1 Answer 1


A thing needs to be original in order for it to get copyright protection.

17 USC §102: "Copyright protection subsists [...] in original works of authorship"

Copyright Act Section 5 (1): "copyright shall subsist in Canada [...] in every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work..."

In the US, originality requires "a modicum of creativity" (Feist Pubs., Inc. v. Rural Tel. Svc. Co., Inc. 499 U.S. 340 (1991).

In Canada, originality requires an "exercise of skill and judgment" and that "not be so trivial that it could be characterized as a purely mechanical exercise" (CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada, [2004] 1 SCR 339).

Text transcribed from a public domain source would not be given copyright protection.

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