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Re: OT: Database protection and why European law is different

On Tue, Dec 23, 2003 at 01:48:19PM -0800, Don Armstrong wrote:
> On Tue, 23 Dec 2003, Edmund GRIMLEY EVANS wrote:
> > Don Armstrong <don@donarmstrong.com>:
> >> First, since the frequency can be construed as a fact, and therefore
> >> is not copyrightable work of authorship, I'm not particularly
> >> concerned by this. [If there is a jurisdiction which does construe
> >> mere compendiums of facts as a work of authorship, we could perhaps
> >> reconsider this.]
> > 
> > The European Union has a Database Directive which grants monopoly
> > rights to the creators of databases, so the prohibition above, which
> > doesn't mention copyright, could still be effective.
> Bummer. Now the EU gets stuck with allowing copyrights on the various
> Genome sequences. I guess the phenomenon of governmentally sanctioned
> rape of the populace is spreading.

I guess that is part of the reason why the EU donated huge
amounts of public funding to the parts of the human genome
project that insisted on the equivalent of free software
licensing (with non-DFSG variations appropriate to the field).
See e.g.
Also note the much shorter duration of database rights (15 years
for databases, life+70 years for copyright).  In contrast
geographical maps etc. enjoy the full copyright duration.

Oh and do recall, that in European legal thinking, copyright is
not a government granted monopoly, but the protection of the
Human Right (nothing less!) of the author to own his/her own
creation and get paid for its use.  To European lawmakers any
restriction of the copyright must come with a very strong
argument for its necessity for the common good, and often with
taxpayer compensation of the authors whose property is being
taken away by the government.

The fact that most authors sell their work to employers and
publishers is recognized and the laws regulate both the terms of
employment and help ensure that the work product is valuable to
the employers as a precondition for them to have any reason to
hire and pay authors in the first place.

Keeping in mind that these are the legal theories behind
copyright in large parts of Europe will hopefully help U.S.
readers of this list to more clearly understand why laws are so
different over here, and why license terms and fair use work
differently in Europe.

IANAL, TINLA.  This message is given as part of a public
academic or political debate.  It carries neither the
obligations of legal advice nor is it claimed to meet any
standards of scientific work.

Just my 2 EuroCents


Link of interest:

http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html  Note Article 27(2)

This message is hastily written, please ignore any unpleasant wordings,
do not consider it a binding commitment, even if its phrasing may
indicate so. Its contents may be deliberately or accidentally untrue.
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