Policy for the Protection and Reuse of Non-Copyrightable Database Contents

MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 4571-05

CISL Working Paper No. 2005-12

40 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2006  

Hongwei (Harry) Zhu

University of Massachusetts Lowell; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Old Dominion University

Stuart Madnick

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Michael Siegel

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Date Written: November 2005

Abstract

With the increasing use of the Internet, many of us feel strongly about the free and unfettered exchange and use of information. But the actual situation is not that simple. After the European Union adopted the Database Directive to provide legal protection for non-copyrightable database contents, the U.S. has introduced six legislative proposals, all of which failed to become a law. One of the major difficulties of formulating a socially beneficial database law is in finding the right balance between protecting the incentives of creating publicly accessible databases (including semi-structured web sites) and preserving adequate access to factual data for value creating activities. We address the problem by developing an extended spatial competition model that explicitly considers the inefficiencies in policy administration. With the model, we can determine various conditions and the corresponding socially beneficial policy choices. The results show that, depending on the cost level of database creation, the degree of differentiation of the reuser database, and the efficiency of policy administration, the socially beneficial policy choice can be protecting a legal monopoly, encouraging competition via compulsory licensing, discouraging voluntary licensing, or even allowing free riding. The results provide useful insights to the formulation of a socially beneficial database protection policy.

Keywords: database protection, data reuse, policy, intellectual property

Suggested Citation

Zhu, Hongwei (Harry) and Madnick, Stuart and Siegel, Michael, Policy for the Protection and Reuse of Non-Copyrightable Database Contents (November 2005). MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 4571-05; CISL Working Paper No. 2005-12. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=876960 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.876960

Hongwei Zhu

Old Dominion University ( email )

Norfolk, VA 23529
United States
757-683-5175 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.odu.edu/~hzhu

University of Massachusetts Lowell ( email )

One University Avenue
Lowell, MA 01854
United States

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

HOME PAGE: http://web.mit.edu/~mrzhu

Stuart E. Madnick (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

E53-321
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-6671 (Phone)
617-253-3321 (Fax)

Michael Siegel

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

E53-323
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-2937 (Phone)
617-258-7579 (Fax)

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