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Re: Freaky copyright laws [was: SUN RPC code is DFSG-free]

On Sun, Aug 24, 2003 at 10:39:02PM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> Over in Europe, you can copyright a database of obvious facts, even if
> it isn't organized in a clever fashion.  This is regarded as
> breathtakingly obvious by the Europeans on this list who are well up on
> EU copyright law, and breathtakingly wrong by Americans on this list who
> are well up on U.S. Copyright law.

Uh, not really. You can protect databases, but they're not covered by
copyright law. The protection is available for every group of data which
is ordered in some fashion (that includes cabinet files filled with
paper data cards, as long as they're ordered, e.g. in an alphabetical
way), and it consists of a protection for a period of 15 years after the
last update to the database, which forbids *complete* reproduction but
explicitely allows unlimited quoting from the database, as long as you
mention your sources.

At least that's how things are in Belgium; there could be little
differences in other EU members.

The rationale for this is that it takes quite an effort to create a
substantially large database, just as it takes quite an effort to write
a computer program or an essay, and that this deserves protection
equally well. The difference, however, is that the protection for
databases hasn't gone mad the way copyright law has (i.e., it's still 15
years, no more).

Wouter Verhelst
Debian GNU/Linux -- http://www.debian.org
Nederlandstalige Linux-documentatie -- http://nl.linux.org
"Stop breathing down my neck." "My breathing is merely a simulation."
"So is my neck, stop it anyway!"
  -- Voyager's EMH versus the Prometheus' EMH, stardate 51462.

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