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

Steve Langasek wrote:
> On Tue, Aug 26, 2003 at 02:05:54AM +0200, Wouter Verhelst wrote:
> > On Mon, Aug 25, 2003 at 12:48:42PM -0500, Steve Langasek wrote:
> > [database protection]
> > > Well, regardless of whether it's *called* copyright, it is a copy-right
> > > -- by virtue of the fact that it's an exclusive right granted to the
> > > creator to control the creation of copies of the work.
> > That's not a very accurate definition of copyright, is it? "If it
> > involves controlling copies, surely there's copyright involved as well?"
> Of course it's accurate.  That's what copyright *means*.

Well, that may be so, but it does not mean you can apply all
copyright law principles to database rights. There are other
laws that give people rights to restrict copying, for example
design patents, utility models or masks for chips.

> Naturally the database directive isn't commonly referred to as a
> copyright.  If it were, then someone might catch on that it's completely
> inconsistent with the rest of copyright law, and wonder why databases
> should enjoy such special protection.  So the law is very carefully
> positioned as being separate from copyright; its purpose is,
> nevertheless, to control the creation of copies of works.

True. But my point was that you cannot use the criteria used
in copyright law to determine whether a database has database 
rights. It is a separate law, and so must be interpreted in
its own right.

> > * If you create a database, you have the right to
> >   - forbid reuse and/or requesting information from the database.
> >     Obviously, some people want to make some money out of creating a
> >     database :-)
> I don't understand this.  It's self-evident to me that you have the
> right to not provide information to people if you so choose.  How does
> this part of the law change anything?

The law forbids you to extract data from my protected database
and to redistribute this data. It also forbids you to provide
your own front-end to my database.

> > Copyright isn't just about "controlling who gets to copy what". It's
> > also about protecting the original author.
> Under *your* copyright regime.  In any case, those particular features
> would be more accurately described by the French term "droit d'auteur"
> rather than "copyright".  In English at least, the term "copyright"
> pretty clearly refers to the creation of copies.

Unfortunately the legal meaning of "copyright" has gone way
beyond "the right to make copies". But maybe we should use
droit d'auteur, copyright and database rights as three
different terms to refer to different legal concepts.


Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies: http://www.iusmentis.com/

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