Online Copyright Case Study: Experian Information Solutions v. Nationwide Marketing Services

Online Copyright
An Arizona judge tossed an online copyright lawsuit between two Internet marketing firms.

An Arizona Federal District Court tossed an online copyright infringement case. One marketing research company sued another marketing research company for allegedly encroaching on a proprietary database. In the end, the judge sided with the defense, reasoning that no actual copyright had been violated. It’s a noteworthy case that every data compilation company and online marketing outlet should take a minute to consider.

Facts of the online copyright infringement case:

  1. Experian Information Solutions, Inc. runs an information database called InSource.
  2. InSource is an analytical compilation of “data related to consumer socio-demographic, lifestyle, culture and behavior” that employs “a proprietor analytical system to accurately and comprehensively categorize millions of consumers into a compilation of datasets.”
  3. InSource claims to purchase some data from “original sources” and cull other information from customers via exclusive methods.
  4. Solutions Inc. has a registered copyright for the way it collects and manages its data, not for the data itself.
  5. Nationwide Marketing Services can fairly, if not simply, be described as a lead list company.
  6. Solutions Inc. believes Nationwide Marketing Services violated Solution’s InSource copyright by taking “data elements from other sources and commingled […] elements with data from the InSource Database to create a database of children’s birth data from the ages of 2 through 17.”

Judge Susan R. Bolton waded through the arguments. In the end she dismissed the case on the grounds that Solutions Inc. failed to state an actionable item. In other words, since Solutions’ copyright had nothing to do with the data, the judge saw no possible way to wave a lawsuit through since the claimants failed to show how the defendants violated the process-centric copyright. In the judge’s own words: “[The] Plaintiff has alleged only that [the defense] copied non-copyrightable data.”


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