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The legal protection of databases: current situation of the international harmonisation process

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The requisite of creativity set down by copyright laws does not fit well into the context of digital databases. The risk of being unprotected increases in the case of factual compilations, as simple facts or data are not copyrightable, meaning that their contents can easily be copied and/or used by others without infringing copyright. After more than a decade of intense debate about the need to give or not give additional protection to non-original databases, and about the most appropriate model to follow, international consensus is still far away. This paper analyses the situation at the present point of the long, heated process of harmonising the legal protection of databases. The European directive is first examined, as well as attempts to extrapolate it to other countries. Then the paper looks at some proposals from the USA, and finally at the treaties and projects of an international nature.
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Keywords: Copyright law; Databases; Intellectual property; International standards

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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