10 Things all businesses should know about Database Rights

  1. A Database is defined as a collection of independent works, data or other materials which are arranged in a systematic or methodical way and which are individually accessible by electronic or other means.
  2. The Database Right will subsist in a Database if there has been a substantial investment in obtaining, verifying or presenting the contents of the Database.
  3. The person who takes the initiative in obtaining, verifying, or presenting the contents of a Database and assumes the risk of investing in that obtaining, verifying or presenting shall be regarded as the maker of, and as having made, the Database. Furthermore, the maker of a Database is the first owner of the Database Right.
  4. In the case of The British Horseracing Board Ltd and Others v William Hill Organization Ltd, the European Court of Justice decided that the term “investment” referred to the resources used to seek out existing independent materials and to collect them in a Database and not in the investment involved in creating the data which made up the contents of a Database.
  5. There are a number of qualifying criteria for a maker of a Database to fulfil before Database Right will subsist. The principal criterion being that at the time of making the Database, the maker must be an individual who was a national of an EEA state or habitually resident in the EEA.
  6. Database Right in a Database expires at the end of the period of fifteen years from the end of the calendar year in which the making of the Database was completed.
  7. A person infringes Database Right in a Database if, without the consent of the owner of the right, he extracts, or re-utilises all or a substantial part of the contents of the Database.
  8. Databases are also treated as a form of literary work and may therefore attract copyright protection under the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. A Database will only receive copyright protection if by reason of the selection or arrangement of the contents of the Database, the Database constitutes the author’s intellectual creation.
  9. If a Database attracts copyright protection, then the right will subsist for a period of 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the author dies.
  10. Practical Steps for Managing Databases and their associated IP Rights:
    • Help to deter infringers by using a copyright notice e.g. Copyright © ip4all 2010 – All Rights Reserved.
    • Where possible, make substantial changes to your database to ensure that the 15 year protection period recommences; and
    • Maintain detailed records of the person or persons who made the Database along with the work under taken by them in obtaining, verifying, or presenting the contents of the Database.