Does the Directive on the Re-Use of Public Sector Information Affect the State's Database Sui Generis Right?
KNOWLEDGE RIGHTS - LEGAL, SOCIETAL AND RELATED TECHNOLOGICAL ASPECTS, J. Gaster, E. Schweighofer & P. Sint, eds., Austrian Computer Society, pp. 137-169, 2008
38 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2008
Date Written: September 1, 2008
The Database Directive, which created a new database sui generis right and harmonized the copyright provisions for databases, does not exclude "state databases" from protection. The question is whether the state should benefit from such intellectual property protection. De lege ferenda, it has been advocated that neither copyright nor sui generis right should protect such databases for several reasons, a major one being that they are financed by taxpayer's money. Several solutions exist de lege lata to try and curtail this negative aspect of the Database Directive as applicable to "state databases" (mainly the human right to information and competition law). One solution, specific to the situation of the state, has not been discussed in depth yet. It is provided by the Public Sector Information (PSI) Directive which grants the possibility for anyone to re-use public sector information (and therefore data from state databases) free of charge or at minimal cost, even for commercial purposes. Therefore, even if the state could claim sui generis right on some of its databases, the PSI Directive appears to reduce this right quite substantially. The paper examines in detail whether the PSI Directive does actually do so and analyzes some national implementation laws which further highlight its ineffectiveness in curtailing the sui generis right in state databases. It then proposes solutions to remedy this problem.
Keywords: databases, sui generis right, intellectual property, Europe, public sector information, state
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