The Legal Protection of Databases
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The Legal Protection of Databases

A Comparative Analysis

Estelle Derclaye

The protection of the investment made in collecting, verifying or presenting database contents is still not harmonised internationally. Some laws over-protect database contents, whilst others under-protect them. This book examines and compares several methods available for the protection of investment in database creation – namely, intellectual property, unfair competition, contract and technological protection measures – in order to find an adequate type and level of protection. To this effect, the author uses criteria based on a combination of the economics of information goods, the human rights to intellectual property and to information, and the public interest, proposing a model that can be adopted at international and national levels.
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Estelle Derclaye


Directive 96/9/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 1996 on the legal protection of databases, OJ L 077, 27/03/1996, pp. 20–28. DIRECTIVE 96/9/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 11 March 1996 on the legal protection of databases THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 57(2), 66 and 100a thereof, Having regard to the proposal from the Commission (1), Having regard to the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee (2), Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 189b of the Treaty (3), (1) Whereas databases are at present not sufficiently protected in all Member States by existing legislation; whereas such protection, where it exists, has different attributes; (2) Whereas such differences in the legal protection of databases offered by the legislation of the Member States have direct negative effects on the functioning of the internal market as regards databases and in particular on the freedom of natural and legal persons to provide on-line database goods and services on the basis of harmonized legal arrangements throughout the Community; whereas such differences could well become more pronounced as Member States introduce new legislation in this field, which is now taking on an increasingly international dimension; 330 Annex 331 (3) Whereas existing differences distorting the functioning of the internal market need to be removed and new ones prevented from arising, while differences not...

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