Below, I have described a case example:

A chemistry web site allows users to search on chemical compounds in order to find other similar chemicals. The chemical similarity is determined based on the molecular structures. Molecular structure data is mined from Wikipedia data dumps. Users are not given the molecular structure itself.

The work of collecting chemical structure data is performed by Wikipedia editors. However, this data is disorganized, and it is neither acquired nor viewed by end users. End users only see data that has been transformed, and, as such, it is not found on Wikipedia. Does the web site present information that the Wikipedia licensor has rights to under regional laws?


1 Answer 1


Wikiedia's and the Wikimedia foundation's servers are located in the US, and they have made quite a point of being subject specifically to us copyright law. Under US law, the data on these various molecules are facts, and as such not protected by copyright at all. The seletion and arrangement might ber, but those are apparently not being used.

If for some reason a case was brought under EU law, or the law of a country that protects database rights, it is not clear to me that the various entries in Wikipedia form a database. If they don't there is still no protection. If they do, the CC-BY-SA 4.0 license covers those as "right similar to copyright", and so the other site may still use them under the license terms. In either case the other site may use the data, the only question is whether it is required to release under the same license and properly give credit.

Moreover, the copyrights on Wikipedia and Commons content are held not by the Foundation, but by individual contributors. In practice even clear and gross infringers do not get sued for copyright infringr,rmyof Wikipedis.

The chemistry site is in the clear.

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