Database Extraction Clarified


The European Court of Justice has confirmed in a recent ruling that for the purposes of ascertaining whether a database owner’s rights have been infringed by ‘extraction’ of database information, extraction is not confined to the physical copying of the data in the database.
The decision of the Court was that the decisive criterion was an act of transfer, for which purpose it was immaterial whether the transfer was effected by electronic, electromagnetic or electro-optical means or by a simple manual process. Accordingly, the transfer of a sample of the information in a database, after an on-screen consultation and an individual assessment of the material contained therein, was capable of constituting an extraction.
Therefore, if a database is accessed and information taken from it selectively (as opposed to the whole of the database being copied), this is still an infringement.
Partner Note
Directmedia Publishing GmbH v Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (Case C-304/07) [2008] WLR (D) 312.

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