Cover Image

Not for Sale

View/Hide Left Panel

Telephone Service Co., 499 U.S. 340 (1991)). The compiler's effort and investment (or “sweat of the brow”) is not a basis for protection.

  • Scope of protection is therefore “thin,” covering only the original elements of a compilation's selection, coordination, or arrangement.

  • Definition. A compilation is “a work formed by the collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that are selected, coordinated, or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship.” 17 U.S.C. §101.

Unfair Competition Law
  • Protects time-sensitive information generated or gathered at a cost.

Contract Law
  • Protects subject matter specified by contract, which may be a database.

Technical Protection
  • Available to protect databases in electronic form.

Sui Generis Property Rights Model
  • Protects databases in which there has been qualitatively and/or quantitatively a substantial investment in the obtaining, verification, or presentation of the contents.

  • Definition. A database is “a collection of independent works, data or other materials arranged in a systematic or methodical way and individually accessible by electronic or other means.”

Unfair Competition/Misappropriation Model
  • Protects collections of information gathered, organized, or maintained through the investment of substantial monetary or other resources.

  • Definitions. (i) A collection of information is “information that has been collected and has been organized for the purpose of bringing discrete items of information together in one place or through one source so that users may access them.” (ii) Information means “facts, data, works of authorship, or any other intangible material capable of being collected and organized in a systematic way” (Title V of H.R. 2281, Section 1401, as passed by the United States House of Representatives on August 4, 1998).

Term of Protection
The Status Quo
  • As works made for hire, most databases will be protected for the shorter of 95 years from first publication, or 120 years from the year of creation.

  • For databases not made for hire, term is life of the author plus 70 years.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement