Feeds

Euro judges strengthen protections for database creators

Sides with University of Freiburg in poem row

High performance access to file storage

A judgment by Europe’s highest court has strengthened the rights of database creators to protect their work from being used by third parties without permission. The database right protects against more than just copying and pasting, it ruled.

The decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) means that the transfer of material from a protected database to another database may be prevented, even if there is no technical process of copying.

The ECJ affirmed the right of the University of Freiburg to protect the content of a database of poem titles from commercial exploitation by an unrelated company.

The judgment said that, where the maker of a database makes the contents of that database accessible to third parties, even if they have to pay for access, the maker may not prevent those third parties from consulting that database for information purposes. It is only when the on-screen display of the contents of that database necessitates the transfer of all or a substantial part of those contents to another medium that the maker's authorisation may be required.

The EU Database Directive of 1996 created a right to protect the content of databases that are the subject of significant investment, even when they are not protected by copyright law. Databases are protected by copyright law when they are considered creative enough to qualify.

The right, however, has been a controversial one because of a lack of clarity about the exact extent of its protection. It received a setback in 2004, in a case in which the British Horseracing Board was told that it could not refuse bookmaker William Hill access to its database of the horses and riders running on a particular day.

The ECJ had ruled that the British Horseracing Board had not put enough effort into the creation of its database to qualify for protection in a ruling that was widely viewed then as weakening the EU's database right.

The ECJ ruled yesterday in favour of the University of Freiburg and one of its professors, Dr Ulrich Knoop. The ECJ did not have to decide what constitutes a database under the Directive. Instead, it focused on what constitutes infringement.

Professor Knoop oversaw the compilation of the 1,100 most important poems in German between 1720 and 1900. The list of titles was published on the internet and served as the basis for an anthology compiled by the university. The list took two-and-a-half years to compile, costing the University €34,900.

A company called Directmedia Publishing then published a CD-ROM called '1000 poems everyone should have', on which 876 of the poems date from the period 1720 to 1900. All but 20 of these also featured in Knoop's list. Knoop and the University sued Directmedia, claiming that it had infringed Knoop's copyright as compiler of an anthology and the University's right as a maker of a database.

Germany’s Federal Court of Justice had already upheld the action brought by Knoop as compiler of an anthology. It accepted that the list of titles constituted a 'database' within the meaning of the Directive, so the ECJ did not revisit the most controversial analysis of the British Horseracing Board case. Instead, the ECJ was asked whether Directmedia’s use of the contents of the database constituted an ‘extraction’ within the meaning of the Directive.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.