The European Commission has published, on the 25th of April as part of the third data package, its second evaluation of the Database Directive (96/9/EC) that was introduced in 1996. The EU law protects databases by copyright if they are original. Non-original databases such as compilations of legal cases and laws, listings of advertisements or databases of scientific publications can also be protected if the investment in obtaining, verifying and presenting the data was substantial.

This protection is known as the “sui generis” right, i.e. a specific property right for databases that is unrelated to other forms of protection such as copyright.

The evaluation focuses on whether the findings of the previous evaluation are still valid about the harmonisation of database laws, the impact of the sui generis right on database production and the balance between rights and interests of database producers and users. In line with the Better Regulation rules, the evaluation assesses the effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU added value of the Directive, analysing whether it remains fit for purpose in the new legal, economic and technological environment.

The evaluation was supported by an external study and various public consultation activities.

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