Retailers Enter DMCA Frey

This may have gone around already, but the New York Times has an interesting story detailing a novel use of the DMCA. According to the NY Times, information about post-Thanksgiving sales was detailed on various online coupon Web sites prior to the date of intended release. This made the retailers (Wal-Mart, Target and others)angry, so they threatened the websites using the DMCA as the muscle behind their argument. However,

Legal experts said invoking a copyright law in this context was unusual, because the information appeared to be a set of facts rather than the kind of original or expressive work that is typically covered by copyright law. The Supreme Court has ruled that telephone white pages directories, for instance, do not fall within copyright law.

Please see these related Web sites:
DMCA U.S. Copyright Office Summary [.pdf]