Experian Information Solutions, Inc. v. Nationwide Marketing Services, Inc.

893 F.3d 1176 (2018)

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Experian Information Solutions, Inc. v. Nationwide Marketing Services, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
893 F.3d 1176 (2018)

  • Written by Rose VanHofwegen, JD
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Facts

Experian Information Solutions, Inc. (plaintiff), compiled a database pairing 250 million consumers’ names and addresses, which it licenses to mail-marketing businesses. Experian selects data from 2,200 information sources, tests its reliability, and resolves conflicting data using algorithms to determine which data to exclude as not valuable to mailing-marketers, like addresses for businesses, incarcerated people, and the very elderly. Experian claims its database is different from and more reliable than the other four largest national databases. Nationwide Marketing Services, Inc. (Natimark) (defendant), acquired a database of 200 million consumers to resell its data. A Natimark data broker attempted to sell Experian a data compilation of children’s birthdays paired with their parents’ names and addresses. Experian tested a sample and found more than 97 percent matched its own data, making Experian suspect its data was stolen. The unusually low price Natimark paid and the lack of accompanying industry-standard written use-and-maintenance restrictions also suggested data theft. Experian’s expert found that 94 percent of the data matched, and Experian sued for copyright infringement. The trial court granted Natimark summary judgment, reasoning that the pairings were not sufficiently creative or original to warrant copyright protection. Experian appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Schroeder, J.)

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