Smit & Van Wyk Patent, Trademark & Registered Designs

Database Copyright Protection

Intellectual Property Attorneys

A database right is a type of intellectual property right which came into being in 1996 in the European Union. No registration is required for a database right. Just as copyright it is automatically assigned the moment the work protected is in a recorded format. The period for protection of a database right is only 15 years from recording in the database and if the work is published in this time the date is calculated from the date of publication. A database is a collection of material which is organized in a manner that allows easy retrieval of individual records which are protected under copyright laws. A database right applies to electronic as well as printed databases.

One of the criteria for copyright protection is that the work must be original. For copyright to apply the database must have some of original arrangement of the data stored in it. It is also important to note that a sizeable investment must have been made in obtaining and presenting the data in an organized format. If both requirements are satisfied then the database will be protected under copyright and database rights. For someone to create a database of written works, it is necessary to get permission from the authors or copyright holders to include the works in the database. If the database only references the sources such as one at a library, it will not be required.

A database right is a type of right under sui-generis laws regarding the copying and storage as well as distribution of information in a database. Database copyright more generally refer to computer databases. If the database is updated during 15 year period, the valid period of 15 years can be extended. Only the information is protected. Database rights came into being in 1998 in the UK.

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