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Database law

As a company, you have collected the information you require over time. Part of this information is stored in databases. Perhaps you wish to disclose part of this information, for example for your customers or for the general public. The setting up (and maintaining) of a database is often a time-consuming and painstaking task.

What you probably do not want is for third parties, for example a competitor, to show off your efforts and make (part of) your database available, for example via their own website.

Protection of data collected in databases

Databases occupy a special position in the context of copyright. Since 1999, databases have been eligible as ‘independent works’ for protection via copyright or via the database law. There are three different regimes for the protection of databases: ‘normal’ copyright protection, protection on the basis of an investment criterion, and protection as impersonal writings.

If you have made a substantial investment in order to construct a database, database law can protect you against retrieval or reuse of a substantial part of the database. ‘Milking’ of a database is not allowed under this law. The database is protected for 15 years after completion. If the existing database undergoes substantial change in a qualitative or quantitative sense, the 15-year period begins again. If the database is not original and does not meet the investment criterion, protection as impersonal writing is a final (limited) option.

Arnold + Siedsma can advise its clients on database law and assist them in related proceedings.

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