Crash course on database rights: What database rights protect

The Directive protects "databases in any form" (article 1 section 1). This definition not only covers electronic databases, but also paper databases such as telephone books, or microfilm collections.


The items in the database can be simple textual items like names or telephone numbers, but can also be complete independent works (copyrighted or not). Thus, an encyclopedia with different entries qualifies as a database. An electronic photo book is also protected, even if the database creator does not have the copyright to the photos in the photo book. Of course, making this database available requires the permission of the copyright holders of the individual photos.

Materials necessary for access to the database

The protection granted under the Directive also applies to "the materials necessary for the operation or consultation of certain databases such as thesaurus and indexation systems" (recital 20). However, any computer software used to access or maintain the database is explicitly excluded (article 1 ยง3).

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