Contractual Restrictions on Lawful Use of Information: Sole-Source Databases Protected by the Back Door?

E.I.P.R. 2015, 37(8), 505-514

20 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2016

See all articles by Maurizio Borghi

Maurizio Borghi

Bournemouth University - Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management (CIPPM)

Stavroula Karapapa

University of Reading; Centre for Commercial Law and Financial Regulation

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

This article is concerned with the risks associated with the monopolisation of information that is available from a single source only. Although there is a longstanding consensus that sole-source databases should not receive protection under the EU Database Directive, and there are legislative provisions to ensure that lawful users have access to a database’s contents, Ryanair v. PR Aviation challenges this assumption by affirming that the use of non-protected databases can be restricted by contract. Owners of non-protected databases can contractually exclude lawful users from taking the benefit of statutorily permitted uses, because such databases are not covered from the legislation that declares this kind of contract null and void. We argue that this judgment is not consistent with the legislative history and can have a profound impact on the functioning of the digital single market, where new information services, such as meta-search engines or price-comparison websites, base their operation on the systematic extraction and reutilisation of materials available from online sources. This is an issue that the Commission should address in a forthcoming evaluation of the Database Directive.

Keywords: Copyright; Database right; Databases; EU law; Price comparisons; Terms and conditions; Websites; Sole-Source databases

Suggested Citation

Borghi, Maurizio and Karapapa, Stavroula, Contractual Restrictions on Lawful Use of Information: Sole-Source Databases Protected by the Back Door? (2015). E.I.P.R. 2015, 37(8), 505-514. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2862248

Maurizio Borghi

Bournemouth University - Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management (CIPPM) ( email )

89 Holdenhurst Road
Bournemouth
Dorset, BH8 8EB
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.cippm.org.uk

Stavroula Karapapa (Contact Author)

University of Reading ( email )

Whiteknights
Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AH
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.reading.ac.uk/law/about/staff/s-karapapa.aspx

Centre for Commercial Law and Financial Regulation ( email )

Whiteknights
Reading, RG6 7BA
United Kingdom

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