Techdirt on why we don’t see widespread comparison/competition on doctor prices and services since “since publishing such info can run afoul of the copyrights.”
apparently the various “codes” used by doctors to classify every visit are actually covered by a copyright held by the American Medical Association, which refuses to allow any free or open distribution of the codes (known as Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)). That’s because the AMA makes about $70 million per year “licensing” the codes.
I’m having serious trouble figuring out what about the codes could actually be covered by copyright, however. They’re numbers corresponding to a particular medical service. As the post above notes, it’s things like “90801 Psychiatric Diagnostic Interview.” It’s difficult to see what the creative component of such a listing is that would allow it to be granted any sort of copyright protection.
But note that the grant of copyright is automatic and sticky unless it is challenged through litigation. No agency has to grant anything. If I write draw a stick figure on a napkin, it can be presumed to be copyright protected and part of my estate for 150 years or so.
The result is that many institutions in this country claim copyright protection for preposterous things, even texts (such as the formal prayers) that have been around for ages. They will continue to do so unless challenged but someone with deep pockets. The further problem is that anyone who has the incentive to do that is probably not seeking to open source the text but rather to gain a further monopoly.