Website that shows TV listings, done by volunteers wiki-style. Legal?
December 10, 2005 3:47 AM   Subscribe

I have an idea for a website that will show tv listings, but editable by anyone wiki-style. Would such reproduction of TV listings be legal?

Is it legal to reproduce TV listings (of regional, national and international TV channels) on a website, if it's not done using screen-scraping techniques (eg, nicking it off other, similar sites), done by volunteers, and not earning me ANY money?

Maybe my question is too broad, as it'd be a site for ALL TV listings of ALL channels in the world, not just, for example, american TV channels. The site would be hosted in Switzerland, if that's relevant. I'd also want to show the relevant TV network's logo, but I suppose that's a definite no-no?
posted by slater to Law & Government (9 answers total)
IANAL but this there's a chance that this might trip over one of Gemstar's bogus patents.
posted by rdr at 3:49 AM on December 10, 2005

Like most IP law at this level of detail it varies by country. There's a lot of talk, and threats, but if it hasn't been tested it's hard to say. Listings have been claimed to be copyright in UK (defeated), America (defeated), and New Zealand (untested). Know of any precedent in Switzerland?
posted by holloway at 5:34 AM on December 10, 2005

It's been done here.
posted by Orange Goblin at 7:06 AM on December 10, 2005

Response by poster: holloway: No precedent on such things, tho I know for certainty that screen-scraping stuff (not what I'd want to do, but similar effect in the end) IS legal here in Switzerland.

Orange Goblin: Kinda what I'm thinking of doing, but like I suspected, with the usual HEAVY slant towards US & Canada
posted by slater at 7:27 AM on December 10, 2005

"The TV IV aims to include information about every television show and is not limited to American or British television."

Seems like you can go ahead and add info for any country. Why not direct people there, rather than reinvent the wheel?
posted by Orange Goblin at 9:25 AM on December 10, 2005 XMLTV is one of several projects that aim towards similar goals. They have scrapers for data in many countries.

In the United States, it isn't generally necessary to scrape the data. Zap2It labs provides the data in XML format.

If you do something in this direction here's the one feature I'm looking for: RSS feeds for all shows. That way I can conveniently see what episodes of the Simpsons are playing in syndication and who the guest is on The Daily Show, etc...
posted by stuart_s at 9:35 AM on December 10, 2005

Response by poster: stuart_s: that is precisely what I had in mind - RSS everything in sight. Tho the quality of the listings would depend on the contribution level and correctness of the data entered by the volunteers. About the XMLTV project: I saw that earlier, but imho that's the wrong way of doing it. The second one of the sites change the layout, pop goes the screen-scrapin' weasel. And for some reason, that zap2it thing rubs me the wrong way. Too many banner ads, too many scary copyright / usage rights notices.

orange_goblin: i suppose I could, but that site seems a bit... dead, and kinda "rigid". I'd want to add stuff left, right and center to that site, but because it's in the wiki framework, I shy away from even touching it.
posted by slater at 9:58 AM on December 10, 2005

I thought you wanted it 'wiki-style'?
posted by Orange Goblin at 11:26 AM on December 10, 2005

Response by poster: i meant "wiki-style" to imply that anybody could add & edit stuff
posted by slater at 11:49 AM on December 10, 2005

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