There is a website (fantasynamegenerators.com) that allows the user to generate names, ranging from pop culture to real names and including place names.

According to the court case Feist v. Rural a list of things that's not creatively arranged can't have copyright in it.

So this means that it is legal to reimplement a name generator from a website like this without reproducing the actual source code?


2 Answers 2


You can take inspiration from the function of a website and create something that functions similarly – assuming that you don't copy the graphic design. You also can't just copy their code used to create the outputs, but you can reinvent that wheel.

In some cases, the underlying real facts could be assembled by the sweat of the brow, as you might get from a digital Norwegian phone book, or from the list of approved names (a government document). It is not possible to generate exactly what the webpage generates without copying the (protected) code – the data is part of the code. Not everything generated by the website is a "fact", for example the Central Asian town name generator is based on a creative rule of the author's invention, and the "Central Asian town" Torakol is not a real fact, it is a creative invention.

I conclude that with a lot of effort, you could legally construct code that functions like the original page does, and does not copy its embedded databases. But you would have to create your own databases, and therefore the results would be different (example: Ashon is not a Swahili name, the author may have scraped a baby-name website and simply installed the original error in the code, knowingly or unknowingly).


Copyright protects creative expression, not facts. So, no one can copyright the idea of an online calculator that will show that 2+2=4, but the code that would underlie a particular calculator is copyrightable.

In your particular example, neither the list of names nor combinations of names can be copyrighted, but the code that uses that list and creates combinations certainly can be.

In short, yes.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy