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The expert IT and intellectual property lawyers at Ackroyd Legal hold an unrivalled level of expertise in these complex and often interrelated areas. We remain fully up-to-date with the latest developments and offer ongoing advice on all aspects of the law and practice relating to database rights.

A database is generally considered to be an organised collection of data. Within legislation, a database is defined more accurately, as “a collection of independent works, data or other materials which are arranged systematically or methodically and are individually accessible by electronic or other means.” The definition of what constitutes a database has also been given a fairly broad interpretation and could include mailing lists, customer details and information management systems.

Within English law, database rights may be protected under the law of copyright, as well as by the UK Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations 1997.

A database may be protected by copyright law as a form of literary works, if it is the owner’s creation utilising the selection or arrangements of the contents, and thereby forms part of their intellectual property.

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Database rights under copyright law will last for 70 years from the year of the creator’s death. The creator is the copyright owner, and this is an crucial point to note for companies engaging independent contractors to create databases on their behalf since the assignment of the copyright should form part of their agreement.

Database rights will be protected under the UK Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations 1997, if it can be shown that substantial investment has been made in the contents of the database.

According to the regulations, the maker of the database will be the first owner. The database rights will last for 15 years from the end of the year when the database was created, although a substantial change to the contents will mean that the database rights can be renewed for a further 15 years. In practice, this means that if databases are continuously updated, so are the associated database rights.

Database rights under the database regulations will be infringed if another person extracts or reuses a substantial part of the database without permission. The repeated use of smaller and far less significant aspects of the contents without permission may also equate to reusing a substantial part of the database and constitute an infringement, depending on the facts of the case.

The expert IT and intellectual property lawyers at Ackroyd Legal have many years’ combined experience across all sectors of the economy. We therefore have an unrivalled understanding of the complexity that surrounds disputes relating to database rights and will effectively navigate the situation, providing clear and practical advice and support in order to resolve the matter with minimal impact upon your reputation and your commercial activity.

Ackroyd Legal is a large law firm based in central London offering a full range of legal services. We will be able to offer a complete service package to support you and your business throughout all of your commercial activities. As well as providing advice and support on all aspects of database rights, we can also call upon the expertise of our colleagues specialising in other areas of the law, such as contracts, employment, dispute resolution and litigation.

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