What is a compilation?
The Copyright Act defines a compilation as a work which is the collection and assembly of other preexisting materials which are selected and arranged in a way such that the final work is an original work of authorship. An example of a collective work would be a categorical directory.
The most common type of compilation is a collective work, which is defined by the Copyright Act as a periodical, anthology or encyclopedia which uses preexisting materials that were protected works on their own, and compiles them into a single work.
There is no question that nonfactual compilations, like literary magazines, are entitled to copyright protection because there is sufficient originality in selecting and arranging the included materials. The issue is a little trickier for factual compilations, however, because the actual creativity may be very slight. There must be some originality in the selection and arrangement of the data (and thus, an alphabetical phonebook listing does not qualify) for there to be protection, and even then the protection is very thin and limited strictly to the selection and arrangement.
A compilation is not entitled to any independent copyright protection if the author of the compilation did not obtain the necessary permission to use the underlying and preexisting materials.