Reutilization and Legal Protection of Non-Copyrightable Database Contents

H. Zhu and S.E. Madnick (USA)


database protection, data reuse, economic analysis


The availability of data on the web and the improvement of technologies have made it increasingly easy to reuse existing data to create new databases and provide value added services. Meanwhile, initial database creators have been seeking legal protection for their data. After presenting a brief history of legislation related to legal protection for non-copyrightable database contents, we discuss challenging issues to be considered in formulating a database protection regulation. These issues can be addressed from the perspective of economics. Results from a preliminary economic analysis are presented. The findings indicate that depending on investment required to create the initial database and the level of differentiation between the initial database and the reuser database, the choice of a social welfare-enhancing regulation can allow for no reuse, free reuse, or fee-paying reuse.

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