June 13th, 2019
Legal Talk 23: Database Rights: What You Need to Know
You call with a quick question. “What are database rights?” You say.
Ah, yes. Database rights are rights that are created automatically when you create a database. They help you to protect your rights in that database from being copied by other people.
“So, do I have to do anything to register these rights?” You ask. No, I say. You don't need to register these rights.
However, there are a few things that you need to know about these rights:
1. To get database rights in your database you have to show you have put some effort into creating the database (e.g. the way that it is formatted and set out in different fields etc.)
2. In particular, you have to show that there has been a substantial investment in obtaining, verifying or presenting the contents of the database. Best to keep a record of everything you have done to create that database so that if anyone questions whether or not you have put in substantial investment into creating the database you can show you have.
3. If you can prove you have database rights in your database then people will infringe your rights if they copy all or a substantial part of your database, or if they take little bits of it on a regular basis so that this all amounts to taking a lot of your database.
4. Database rights last for 15 years, which is plenty of time given that your database is likely to be out of date by then. Anyway, the good news is that the 15 years re-starts if there is a substantial change to the database. So, a lot of people save up their changes to the database and make them all in one go so as to get another 15 year period of database protection for the new updated database.
5. You can also get copyright protection for your database regarding its contents. Best to put copyright notices on your database and also state that this is your database and that you believe that database rights protect it.
6. Also, if you put in some deliberate (but harmless) errors into your database then if anyone copies your database, they will also copy the errors. Then, if you suspect them of copying your database and write to them about this, it will then be up to them to explain how these errors appear in their database.
“Okay,” you say. “This database is pretty important for us because it has all of our contact and client information on it so these database rights are good to know about because we need all the legal protection we can get for this database.”
You should also put a note about database rights in any presentation that you make to investors just to show them that you are on top of things. If you want to do any further research, here might be a good place to start: https://www.out-law.com/page-5698.
I am thinking about going into more detail on database rights but you say you have to go because you are updating your pitch deck to investors. Hope all goes well with the fund raising!
As always, I'm continuing to think of ways that I can help you on the legal side.
Your Legal Coach
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