Database rights are a form of exclusive right. Database rights were introduced in 1997 by European Union Law to countries which follow European Union Law, because in order to provide greater protection to collections of information they should have a unified legal protection for databases. To do this they created a sui generis right called database right. Database rights are covered by Copyright Law to some degree in many countries, as being a work that shows originality in its selection, linking, placing in due order and arrangement. Database rights last for 15 years. Each time a database is substantially modified, however, a new set of rights are created for that database. Database rights are independent of copyright: The arrangement, selection, and presentation of the data may be protected by copyright, while the database as a whole can be protected by database right.
Database rights was created by Council Directive No. 96/9/EC of 11 March 1996 (Official Journal of the European Communities No. L77, 27.3.96, page 20) on the legal protection of databases.
Database rights lasts for 15 years under this regime, but can be extended if the database is updated.
As in copyright, the policy disallows copying of substantial parts of a database (including frequent extraction).
In many other respects database right is similar to
copyright: it is created automatically, vests in employers, does not have to be
In the UK it was introduced as "The Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations 1997" (SI. 3032 of 1997).
Intellectual Property Protection of Fact-based Works: Copyright - Its Alternatives - Robert F.Brauneis
The Legal Protection of Databases by Mark J. Davison, William R. Cornish, Francois Dessemontet, Paul Goldstein, Robin Jacob.
Intellectual Property Protection of Fact-based Works: Copyright and Its Alternatives - by Robert F. Brauneis. The 1991 US Supreme Court decision in Feist Publications Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co. held that factual matter is not subject to copyright protection because it is not original to the author, thus dramatically rejecting a two-century-old tradition of protecting factual compilations under copyright. The contributors to this book reassess this decision and its implications, particularly for the protection of electronic databases.
The Legal Protection of Databases
(Cambridge Studies in Intellectual Property Rights) by Mark J. Davison, William
R. Cornish, Francois Dessemontet, Paul Goldstein, Robin Jacob.
'This text contains a wealth of information, is well written and uses a solid structure to analyse complex ideas and legislation in a way that is easy to follow ... it will be an invaluable resource for those readers seeking an overview of developments in the protection of databases at a national and international level as well as for readers wanting an analysis on how such developments have been implemented.' Copyright Reporter.