Coping with Database Protection Laws

Andy Oram wrote an article on the consequences of database protection Laws, HERE that is worth a read.


The 1990s have witnessed the creation of an entire new category of intellectual property—the collection—as well as a new (sui generis) right of ownership. In this article I will try to summarize the issues that content providers and their representatives should be alert to when dealing with laws concerning “collections of information”, a term I will use interchangeably with the term databases. To understand the importance of this issue, you must sense how deeply collections of information have penetrated the life of economically advanced cultures. This morning, you may have flipped through a listing of television channels to find one where you could check the weather for your region; you may have grabbed a bus schedule on the way to your office and (if you are calorie-conscious like many Americans) peeked into a book that rates food’s nutritional value before choosing a breakfast item from a restaurant menu; you may then have settled into your computer and called up a database of statistics critical to your profession. Not only the statistical database, but also the TV guide, the weather listing, the bus schedule, the nutrition book, and the restaurant menu are all collections of information.

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