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Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service Co.

United States Supreme Court
499 U.S. 340 (1991)

Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service Co.


Rural Telephone Service (Rural) (plaintiff) published a phonebook which lists the names of its subscribers alphabetically in its white pages. Feist Publications (Feist) (defendant) distributed a similar phonebook although covering a larger geographical area. Rural obtained the information for its white pages directly from its subscribers. In order to obtain its white pages listings, Feist contacted Rural and other phone companies offering to pay to use their white pages listings. Rural denied Feist permission to use its listings because the two companies compete for advertising revenue. However, Feist used Rural’s listings anyway, without its permission. When Rural found out, it sued Feist for copyright infringement.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (O’Connor J.)

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