Feist Publications, Inc. Rural Telephone Service Co. Inc.

499 U.S. 340 (1991)


Rural (P) publishes a mandatory telephone directory consisting of white pages and yellow pages. Feist (D) is a publishing company that makes a wide area directory that covers significantly more territory than the P directory. Both P and D distribute their directories for free. D gets its telephone information by paying telephone companies to use their information contained therein. P was the only company that did not allow D access to its telephone directory information. D then decided to use P's directory without approval and D made an effort to gather more information about P's listings, but nonetheless, 1,309 of the listings in D's directory were direct copies of the P directory including four fictitious listings that P used to detect copying. P sued for copyright infringement. Summary judgment was granted to P. D appealed. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.