EBLIDA Contribution at WIPO Database meeting 17-19 September 1997

Subject: EBLIDA Contribution at WIPO Database meeting 17-19 September 1997
From: Emanuella Giavarra (ecup.secr@dial.pipex.com)
Date: ti 16 syys   1997 - 21:55:34 EEST

Dear list members,

Please find enclosed the contribution which EBLIDA has prepared for the
WIPO Informal Database meeting of 17-19 September 1997 in Geneva.

Kind regards,
Emanuella Giavarra

EBLIDA Contribution
at WIPO Informal Meeting on Databases 17-19 September 1997

On behalf of EBLIDA, the European Bureau of Library, Information and
Documentation Associations that represents over 95.000 libraries in
Europe, I would like to make the following contribution.

Today we are discussing the need for an international sui generis right,
granted to makers of databases to protect them for a period of 15 or 25
years from extraction and utilization by others of the content of the

Librarians are both producers and users of databases. Librarians agree
that databases are vulnerable to copying, and adequate incentives are
needed to ensure their continued creation and access. But do we need a
new international instrument to ensure this?

Before the introduction of the EU Directive on the legal protection of
databases, we were of the opinion that the then present legal,
contractual and technical protection available was adequate. We urged
the European Commission to proceed with great caution in this area given
the risk of unintended negative consequences, such as less accessibility
or more expensive data.

The implementation into national legislation of the EU Directive on the
legal protection of databases has gone wrong, intentionally or
unintentionally. The EU Directive will have a disastrous effect on
access to information in general and on education and research in
particular. In the long term this will actually be detrimental to the
creation of databases.

The terminologies “substantial part”, “insubstantial part” and “lawful
users” in the Directive have given rise to a variety of interpretations
at a national level which have resulted in granting a much higher
protection than intended by the European institutions. The result is
that in many cases a user cannot even enter a database without having a
license to do so. It seems that individual facts are becoming the
subject of private ownership and government databases are likely to be
protected. This will certainly harm education, science, research and the
cultural and social development of society.

You will have guessed that we are not enthusiastic about the results of
the EU Directive on the legal protection of databases. At the level of
WIPO, we hope that a Treaty will be adopted that will have a positive
influence on the recently introduced legislation in the countries of the
European Union. We would like to suggest to the Contracting Parties to
set the tone by including a preamble in a possible new Treaty with the
following wording:

“Recognizing the need to maintain a balance between the rights of the
maker of a database and the larger public interest, particularly,
education, research and access to information”

We hope that a WIPO Database Treaty will be able to contribute to
preserving the diverse and valuable cultural heritage of the world. We
also hope that it will offer protection against the over-dominant
control of new media by a small number of multi-national distributors.


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