Database Directive

The Directive 96/9/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 1996 on the legal protection of databases is a directive of the European Union in the field of copyright law, made under the internal market provisions of the Treaty of Rome. It harmonises the treatment of databases under copyright law and the sui generis right for the creators of databases which do not qualify for copyright.

Directive 96/9/EC
European Union directive
TitleDirective on the legal protection of databases
Made byEuropean Parliament & Council
Made underArts. 47(2), 55 & 95
Journal referenceL77, 1996-03-27, pp. 20–28
History
Date made11 March 1996
Came into force27 March 1996
Implementation date1 January 1998
Preparative texts
Commission proposalC156, 1992-06-23, p. 4
C308, 1993-11-15, p. 1
EESC opinionC19, 1993-01-25, p. 3
EP opinionC194, 1993-07-19, p. 144
Current legislation

The directive is being reviewed as part of a proposed Data Act with public submissions closing on 25 June 2021.[1]

Definition of databaseEdit

Article 1(2) defines a database as "a collection of independent works, data or other materials arranged in a systematic or methodical way and individually accessible by electronic or other means". Non-electronic databases are also covered (para. 14 of the preamble). Any computer program used to create the database is not included (para. 23 of the preamble). Copyright protection of software is governed by Directive 91/250/EEC.[1]

CopyrightEdit

Under Article 3, databases which, "by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents, constitute the author's own intellectual creation" are protected by copyright as collections: no other criterion may be used by Member States. This follows from the 1994 Agreement on the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), a widely adopted treaty to which all World Trade Organization members are party. TRIPS clarifies and arguably relaxes the criterion for protection of collections in the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works,[2] which covers "collections of literary and artistic works" and requires creativity in the "selection and arrangement" of the contents: in practice the difference is likely to be slight. Any copyright in the database is separate from and without prejudice to the copyright in the entries.

The acts restricted by copyright are similar to those for other types of work (Art. 5):

  • temporary or permanent reproduction by any means and in any form, in whole or in part;
  • translation, adaptation, arrangement and any other alteration;
  • any form of distribution to the public of the database or of copies thereof, subject to the exhaustion of rights;
  • any communication, display or performance to the public;
  • any reproduction, distribution, communication, display or performance to the public of a translation, adaptation, etc.

This shall not prevent the lawful use of the database by a lawful user [Art. 6(1)]: Member States may provide for any or all of the following limitations [Art. 6(2)], as well as applying any traditional limitations to copyright:

  • reproduction for private purposes of a non-electronic database;
  • use for the sole purpose of illustration for teaching or scientific research, as long as the source is indicated and to the extent justified by the non-commercial purpose to be achieved;
  • use for the purposes of public security or for the purposes of an administrative or judicial procedure.

Copyright protection usually lasts for seventy years after the death of the last publicly identified author. Anonymous or pseudonymous works gain protection for the later of 70 years after the work is lawfully made available to the public or 70 years from creation. If national legislation makes particular provision for collective works or for a legal person (i.e. a body corporate) to be a rights holder the term of protection of calculated in the same way as for anonymous or pseudonymous works, with the exception that if any natural persons who created the work are given credit in versions made available to the public, the term of protection is calculated according to the lives of those authors. Art. 1, Directive 93/98/EEC[3]).

CopyrightEdit

Under Article 3, databases which, "by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents, constitute the author's own intellectual creation" are protected by copyright as collections: no other criterion may be used by Member States. This follows from the 1994 Agreement on the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), a widely adopted treaty to which all World Trade Organization members are party. TRIPS clarifies and arguably relaxes the criterion for protection of collections in the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works,[4] which covers "collections of literary and artistic works" and requires creativity in the "selection and arrangement" of the contents: in practice the difference is likely to be slight. Any copyright in the database is separate from and without prejudice to the copyright in the entries.

The acts restricted by copyright are similar to those for other types of work (Art. 5):

  • temporary or permanent reproduction by any means and in any form, in whole or in part;
  • translation, adaptation, arrangement and any other alteration;
  • any form of distribution to the public of the database or of copies thereof, subject to the exhaustion of rights;
  • any communication, display or performance to the public;
  • any reproduction, distribution, communication, display or performance to the public of a translation, adaptation, etc.

This shall not prevent the lawful use of the database by a lawful user [Art. 6(1)]: Member States may provide for any or all of the following limitations [Art. 6(2)], as well as applying any traditional limitations to copyright:

  • reproduction for private purposes of a non-electronic database;
  • use for the sole purpose of illustration for teaching or scientific research, as long as the source is indicated and to the extent justified by the non-commercial purpose to be achieved;
  • use for the purposes of public security or for the purposes of an administrative or judicial procedure.

Copyright protection usually lasts for seventy years after the death of the last publicly identified author. Anonymous or pseudonymous works gain protection for the later of 70 years after the work is lawfully made available to the public or 70 years from creation. If national legislation makes particular provision for collective works or for a legal person (i.e. a body corporate) to be a rights holder the term of protection of calculated in the same way as for anonymous or pseudonymous works, with the exception that if any natural persons who created the work are given credit in versions made available to the public, the term of protection is calculated according to the lives of those authors. Art. 1, Directive 93/98/EEC[5]).

ImplementationEdit

Implementation of the Directive by Member States
  Austria BGBI Nr. 25/1998, entry in force on 1 January 1998
  Belgium Law of 31.08.1998
  Bulgaria Закон за авторското право и сродните му права (Zakon za avtorskoto pravo i srodnite mu prava), as amended in State Gazette 77/2002, entry into force 1 January 2003
  Cyprus unknown
  Czech Republic Law No. 121/2000 Coll. of 7 April 2000 on Copyright, Rights Related to Copyright and on the Amendment of Certain Laws
  Denmark Probably implemented by Ophavsretsloven 2008-06-20 (especially §71)
  Estonia unknown
  Finland Laki tekijänoikeuslain muuttamisesta (250/1998)
Laki rikoslain 49 luvun 1 §:n muuttamisesta (251/1998)
  France Law No. 98-536 of July 1, 1998, entry in force on 1 January 1998
  Germany Law of 22.07.1997
  Greece Law 2121/1993, as amended by law 2819/2000 [6]
  Hungary Act LXXVII of 2001 on the modification of Copyright Act, entry in force on 1 January 2002
  Ireland Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000, entry in force on 1 January 2001
  Italy Decree No. 169 of 1999
Decree No. 244 of 1994
Decree No. 205 of 1996
  Latvia Autortiesību likums (2000-04-06)
  Lithuania Autorių teisių ir gretutinių teisių įstatimas N. VIII-1185 (1999-05-18)
  Luxembourg unknown
  Malta Copyright Act, 2000
  Netherlands Databankenwet, 8 July 1999
  Poland Ustawa z dnia 27 lipca 2001 o ochronie baz danych
  Portugal Decreto-Lei n. 122/2000
  Romania unknown
  Slovakia Copyright Act of 1997-12-05 (No. 383/1997)
  Slovenia Zakon o avtorskih in sorodnih pravicah (1995-03-30)
  Spain Ley 5/1998, de 6 de marzo, de incorporación al Derecho español de la Directiva 96/9/CE, del Parlamento Europeo y del Consejo, de 11 de marzo, sobre la protección jurídica de bases de datos
  Sweden Lag (1960:729) om upphovsrätt till litterära och konstnärliga verk (database right created, 1961-07-01)
Lag (1997:790) om ändring i lagen (1960:729) om upphovsrätt till litterära och konstnärliga verk (extension of the term from 10 to 15 years and minor modifications, 1998-01-01)
  United Kingdom Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations 1997/3032, in force 1 January 1998

Notable litigationEdit

The British Horseracing Board (BHB) was the claimant in a notable case. At dispute was the re‑use of the contents of their horseracing information subscription service by other parties. The European Court of Justice ruled in 2004 that the resources used for the creation of materials which make up the contents of a database are not protected and BHB duly lost their litigation.[2][3]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ European Commission (28 May 2021). Inception impact assessment: Data Act (including the review of the Directive 96/9/EC on the legal protection of databases) — Ares(2021)3527151 (PDF). Brussels, Belgium: European Commission. Retrieved 7 June 2021. Lead DG: CNECT/G1. Landing page for download given. Download name: 090166e5ddb6bc31.pdf.
  2. ^ European Court of Justice (9 November 2004). Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 9 November 2004 — Case C-203/02 — ECLI:EU:C:2004:695. Kirchberg, Luxembourg: European Court of Justice (ECJ). Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  3. ^ "The British Horseracing Board Ltd and Others v William Hill Organization Ltd: ECJ 9 Nov 2004". swarb.co.uk. West Yorkshire, United Kingdom. 7 July 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  1. ^ Council Directive 91/250/EEC of 14 May 1991 on the legal protection of computer programs, OJ L 122, 17 May 1991, p. 9.
  2. ^ Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
  3. ^ Council Directive 93/98/EEC of 29 October 1993 harmonizing the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights, OJ L 290, 24 November 1993, p. 9.

External linksEdit