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    Fifth Circuit Rejects Copyright Infringement Claim Regarding Oil Drilling Database Schema

    Amanda Doran

    On July 2, 2020, a judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held in the matter of Digital Drilling Data Systems, LLC v. Petrolink Services, Inc. that Petrolink did not violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and that “copying unimportant database schema from a proprietary database” does not constitute infringement.

    Operations software company Digital Drilling Data Systems (Digidrill) alleged that competitor Petrolink Services had infringed upon Digidrill’s copyrighted DataLogger database that collects underground oil sensor data and feeds the information to above-ground oil drills. The Fifth Circuit rejected Digidrill’s substantial similarity claim, finding that even though Petrolink copied 5% of DataLogger’s copyrighted schema, Digidrill could not establish the unique importance of the copied database schema “to the Datalogger program as a whole.”

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