Can you copyright a number? According to a recent action, the number
09F91102********D84156C5635688C0 (* is used to mask the full key)
is not allowed to be published. The logic is that because this combination can be used to engage in illicit activities, it can’t be published. Does this make sense?
In a way, it does. Let’s suppose I have a list of peoples social security numbers. Should I be allowed to publish them? I would be publishing private information that could have potentially detrimental effects to a person. They are “just numbers”, but those numbers have serious consequences if published.
That said, suppose I create a random number generator and publish it to the web that creates a new hex number ever time it’s loaded. Eventually, I will probably hit the above combination, publishing the number. The difference is that there is no context with the number. It can’t be linked to anything.
So it comes down to context. If I publish a number with a context (say a SSN with a persons name and address), it’s a violation of law. If I publish the same number without context, it’s not. The same goes for the above.