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    Re: Almanac Heaven
    From: Ken Gebhart
    Date: 2006 Mar 30, 16:05 -0600

    On 3/30/06 1:45 AM, "Frank Reed"  wrote:
    > Ken Gebhart wrote:
    > "Also, Brown's Almanac  (Glascow), and Reed's Almanac, are claimed by the
    > British Almanac Office to be  paying royalties too.  "
    > And really, it is in their best interests  financially to do so. The
    > astronomical and navigational data themselves cannot  be copyrighted. No one
    > owns the
    > position of Mars at 0h GMT on June 23, 2013. No  one owns the value of the
    > atmospheric refraction at four degrees altitude. I can  easily publish today
    > my
    > own "Nautical Almanac" calculated from first principles  (and the standard JPL
    > ephemeris data) and it would be functionally identical to  the official
    > Nautical Almanac. But who would buy it (especially since I make  that data
    > available
    > for free on my web site)? Part of the reason that navigators  and navigation
    > enthusiasts are willing to buy private almanacs today is because  of the
    > implicit promise that there are no errors since they derive from the
    > "official"
    > source. A re-publisher is spending money wisely to get data  sanctioned with a
    > "seal of approval" from those official sources. It creates  instant
    > credibility. And of course , there is no way that *they* could  publish any
    > mistakes.
    > By the way, didn't someone inform the list a while  back that Reed's Almanac
    > (no relation, incidentally) no longer includes  celestial navigation tables?
    > -FER
    > 42.0N 87.7W, or 41.4N  72.1W.
    > www.HistoricalAtlas.com/lunars
    You are partly right about the copyright issue.  Even though, as you say, no
    one owns the position of Mars, the British claim copyright to whatever data
    they collect.  They even extended this thinking recently to tidal data in
    British ports.  Since they collected the data, they have stopped several
    tidal prediction programs from being sold without paying a royalty for the
    British part.  In the US its a different matter. Data is not copyrightable.
    A landmark case arose between Feist Phone Directory and the Yellow Pages
    Directory.  Feist scanned the Yellow Pages, and spit the names and addresses
    back into their own directory.  They were sued by Yellow Pages, and Feist
    won for the reasons stated.  A case over international copyright of data
    might go either way.  However, the British also claim copyright over the
    page layout of the almanac which is a creative issue. Most everyone agrees
    that that claim is proper.

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