Complete list of Trivial Pursuit questions online?
June 18, 2008 8:29 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find a complete list of questions from the Genus editions of Trivial Pursuit online?

So apparently, some guy tried to sue the Trivial Pursuit people for using a bunch of questions from his trivia books, including errors and typos. The TP people argued in court that yes, they had used his stuff, but that 'facts are not protected by copyright'. They won.

So, I figure it must be legal to put up a list of all Trivial Pursuit questions, seeing as though they're apparently just 'facts'. Such a list would be great for quickly grouping trivia questions around a theme (eg, show me all the questions that contain the word 'dog'). Does such a list exist online?
posted by obiwanwasabi to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Ok, I'll start!

So yeah. Trivial Pursuit. It's owned by Parker Brothers, which is owned by Hasbro, which did $3.5B in revenue in 2006.

The upshot of this is that these guys have lawyers aplenty, and probably good ones at that. The fact that they won in court isn't all that surprising, and it doesn't necessarily protect you ganking their work wholesale.

Anybody can see I'm not a lawyer, but your logic isn't bulletproof, and if it were a rope down a cliff I wouldn't trust it.
posted by SlyBevel at 9:53 PM on June 18, 2008

I agree. Remember the golden rule: he who has the gold makes the rules.
posted by Class Goat at 10:10 PM on June 18, 2008

Ken Jennings writes about Trivial Pursuit's original owners stomping all over an unauthorized book publication of the questions. Jennings himself backed down from using "Trivial Pursuits" in the subtitle to his book, Brainiac (which discusses, among other things, Fred Worth's lawsuit against Trivial Pursuit's creators for lifting large numbers of questions from his trivia books.)
posted by Zed_Lopez at 11:04 PM on June 18, 2008

I'll note that there actually is a logic at work here. From CENDI's copyright FAQ: Facts cannot be copyrighted. However, the creative selection, coordination and arrangement of information and materials forming a database or compilation may be protected by copyright. Note, however, that the copyright protection only extends to the creative aspect, not to the facts contained in the database or compilation.

Worth's books were a copyrighted compilation of uncopyrightable facts. Trivial Pursuit's creators' creative selection, coordination, and arrangement of Worth's material constituted a copyrightable work (thus the book reprint was squashed.)
posted by Zed_Lopez at 11:14 PM on June 18, 2008

All this discussion of copyright litigation doesn't go to answering the question as to whether someone has made such a list available online, unless you want to posit that no one on the internet violates copyrights. If you believe that, I have a bridge for sale.
posted by Goofyy at 1:52 AM on June 19, 2008

Wouldn't putting such a list on the net (for example, in a MySQL database with a nifty web front end) under a generic name (behold, Deep Trivia(tm)!) represent the same creative selection, coordination and arrangement of TP's material (that is, uncopyrightable facts) as TP made of Worth in the first place? I'm finding it hard to understand how they'd have a legal leg to stand on.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:11 AM on June 19, 2008

Did you ever see that movie Little Man?
posted by box at 4:51 AM on June 19, 2008

If you put up a list with the same relation to the TP questions that they had to Worth's, i.e., that you reworded them (for instance, as statements instead of as questions & answers), and TP questions were the source for only a quarter of your material, then it'd seem you'd have about as much leg to stand on as they did in their successful defense against Worth. But I also find it within the realm of imagination that a court could agree that books are expected to be treated as reference works and games are not, and, as such, they have a different status vis-a-vis lifting their material. This would be capricious, yes, but the edge cases sometimes are (and they'd have much bigger lawyers.) But IANAL of any size.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 7:23 AM on June 19, 2008

While facts alone are not copyrightable, a compilation of facts is protectable if the order and arrangement of those facts is original and creative. See Feist v. Rural Telephone Service. Are the specific selection of trivia questions and answers that makes up each edition of Trivial Pursuit original? Aren't the questions are selected so as to fit into 6 (?) categories with the number of questions for each category equal to the number of cards in the game and be pegged to a certain level of difficulty?
posted by andrewraff at 7:31 AM on June 19, 2008

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