[affs-project] EU Consultation: "database rights"

Alex Hudson home at alexhudson.com
Fri Jan 6 08:54:13 GMT 2006

Here's something interesting:
We've had a copyright-like protection of databases (collections of
facts) for nearly ten years now, and the EU Commission has just
published a study of the impact of this directive on the "database
Somewhat to their displeasure, it seems, the study has shown that the
database industry hasn't grown (in fact, it shrunk), and there isn't an
economic justification for the directive. They did, however, survey the
industry to see what the industry thought of it, and people who make
databases apparently like the directive. "So that's alright, then" :)
James Boyle at the FT captures this nicely:
        "Imagine applying these arguments to a drug trial. The patients
        in the control group have done better than those given the drug,
        and there is evidence that the drug might be harmful. But the
        drug companies like their profits, and want to keep the drug on
        the market. Though “somewhat at odds” with the evidence, this is
        a “political reality.” Getting rid of the drug would reopen the
        debate on the search for a cure. Change is costly - true. But
        what is the purpose of a review, if the status quo is always to
        be preferred?"
There is now a period of feedback on the report. Although database
rights have only a limited impact on free software, I think we are
stakeholders and should reply to the EU. Also, it's another chance to
open the eyes of our politicians to the problems these laws cause :)

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