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Directive on the legal protection of databases

Directive 96/9/EC, on the legal protection of databases was formally adopted on 11 March 1996, and its full text has now been published in the Official Journal of the European Communities.

The Directive will remove the inconsistencies between Member States' provisions on the ...
Directive 96/9/EC, on the legal protection of databases was formally adopted on 11 March 1996, and its full text has now been published in the Official Journal of the European Communities.

The Directive will remove the inconsistencies between Member States' provisions on the rights of database creators, allowing the internal market in information products, and particularly databases, to function more efficiently. The growing information market in Europe means that databases are accessed internationally with growing regularity, and there is, therefore, a need for European legislation.

Databases, in both electronic and non-electronic form, will be protected by the new Directive, but the new rights for the creators of databases are without prejudice to the authors of works stored within those databases.

Copyright protection will be applied to databases which, by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents, constitute the author's own intellectual creation. Copyright protection will not be extended to the contents of databases.

In addition, a "sui generis" right will be provided to the creators of databases who can show that there has been a substantial investment in the obtaining, verification or presentation of the contents, to prevent extraction or re-utilization of the whole, or of a substantial part (evaluated qualitatively and/or quantitatively), of the contents of the database. This "sui generis" right will last for 15 years from the completion of the database, or from the date on which the database was made available to the public.

Member States are required to bring in national laws, regulations and administrative provisions to comply with the Directive before 1 January 1998.
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