I know that WS strongly objects to people publicly posting the detailed tasting notes without permission, but what's the policy on things like the point score and the drinking window?
Generally that information can be gleaned from the internet; retailers, wineries, auctions and bloggers regularly quote them. Does that mean it's OK to share them, or do you still really need special permission?
Original Post
There's a fine line here. Hopefully Spectator will chime in, but I think their overall product benefits when people say "Spectator gave this 94 points." People then seek out the publication for the details. If you post the whoel tasting note, though -- what's the point in seeking out the publication?
I guess that the answer is that WS does have copyright on scores, but has made a commercial decision to waive that copyright in certain circumstances, such as tagging wines on a shelf.

I suspect that if a commercial website started up that allowed you access to WS scores for a subscription, but not the TNs, that it would be seen as a breach of copyright.

Acual lawyers might be able to give you the corect answer.
A numeric score is not copyrightable by itself. Only an original creative work is subject to copyright law.

If I claimed that in a particularly inspired, Rieussec-fueled moment, the neurons fired in my brain and I invented a brand-new number which I called "100"... I don't think that story would fly.

A tasting note is copyrightable though.
WS Advance, which is now available to on-line subscribers, was once just for the retailers. If you note the format, they are laid out in a nice easy-to-cut format with guide marks. It appears to me that WS wants retailers to place these as “shelf-talkers” as WS benefits from free advertising. Oddly enough, there are no copyright markings on the sheet (WS editors, take note), nor in the pdf file properties. The WS Insider also does not have any copyright markings (OK, WS editors, REALLY - take note). The printed edition is clearly copyrighted as well as the website, and this includes the numeric score, if you reference WS or the author, BTW.

Many on-line retailers also use the scores and often include the full tasting note quite liberally. IMHO, as for what is posted in this forum, I think it’s crossing the line to post a score or a tasting note on something that is in the current print or electronic issues as this cuts into their sales unless you’ve seen it “advertised” by a retailer.

So, the bottom line is the issue remains quite clouded. But WS does, in the end, hold the copyright and has a right to enforce it.

You are totally corerect. We have been told by all involved that the RETAILER may make a shelftalker quoting Consumer Reports... But we cannot supply them for fear of lawsuite and the product never again being reviewed.

But.... let's face it, folks...
Any shelftalker quoting WS is a free advertisement for WS. Big Grin

I am the xception to every rule.

Add Reply

Likes (0)