From the Sydney Morning Herald http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/12/28/1072546412045.html
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It's your number, but their earner
By Wendy Frew December 29, 2003
You can give your phone number to anyone you please - but only one
company can make money out of the names and addresses of all
Telstra's fight to keep it that way came to Sydney last week when it
reached an out-of-court settlement with a small directory business, Dependable
Database Data (DDD).
US courts require proof of creativity to grant copyright, but
Australia's telephony goliath has had to spend up big in the courts in
recent years to establish control over its White Pages and Yellow Pages.
In the process, it has put several small companies out of business,
including one that hired a team in the Philippines to key in the
numbers from every Telstra phone book in Australia.
"The main thing out of this is that we will not stand by and let anyone
copy our work," said Karina White, a spokeswoman for the Telstra
subsidiary Sensis, which runs the Yellow Pages and White Pages.
"The amount of hours and manpower that goes into building our
directories . . . is fairly extensive, so we want to protect them."
Earlier this year Telstra won a four-year-long case against another
company, Victoria's Desktop Marketing Systems, when it was ruled that
phone number listings attract copyright on a "sweat of the brow" basis
- the effort and expense of compiling them.
Telstra had also taken action against DDD, which supplied the basic
data for Desktop Marketing and ran an internet-based competitor to
Telstra called the Green Pages. DDD's owner, Robert Rosengreen, said
yesterday that he knew when Desktop Marketing lost its case that it
would be difficult for him to continue with his 15-year-old business.
"No decision has been made yet but DDD is a company with one major
product and if that product can't be issued, we can't continue," Mr
"It also makes it very difficult to fight a big company."
The company's Australia On Disc contains about 8 million Australian
business and home names, addresses and telephone numbers.
Sensis and DDD have not revealed the details of the settlement, but DDD
has agreed, without admission, to stop distributing its Australia On
Disc and Green Pages products in Australia.
Does that leave Telstra with a valuable monopoly?
Sensis's Ms White said there was nothing stopping people from building
their own databases.
But that might require them doorknocking every home in Sydney and
beyond to get their numbers.
"What it stops them from doing is using the information we have
collected," Ms White said.
This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/12/28/1072546412045.html