Local Calling Areas

I have been commissioned to reproduce the Local Calling Area sections of numerous old telephone books. These are mainly the pages that identify the geography of each exchange and the toll structure for calls to adjacent areas. The following links are to Adobe Acrobat (pdf) files containing the reproductions. (Some of these files are over a megabyte.)

I believe these reproductions of copyrighted material are allowed as "fair use". Fair use is judged by four factors.

  1. The purpose or character of the reproduction is substantially different from the original. In the original telephone books, these pages were intended to instruct users of the telephone service. The reproductions are intended for historical research, and cannot be effectively used for their original purpose, since the local calling areas must be assumed to have changed by now.
  2. The original was a published non-fiction work. It contained factual information, and courts have held that the public has an interest in making information widely available.
  3. The portion reproduced is generally not more than 1% of the original work. More importantly, it is not the "heart" of the work. When you think of using a telephone book, you ordinarily think of looking up a listing in the alphabetical or classified section.
  4. Obviously the reproduction has a negligible effect on the market for the work. The copyright owner would not, in any conceivable scenario, try to profit from the sale of twenty-year-old telephone books.

Nevertheless, if anyone with an ownership interest in the copyrights requests the removal of any or all of these files, I will be happy to comply. Write to me at

Last updated: October 27, 2007