Exploring European Union Copyright Policy Through the Lens of the Database Directive

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This Article explores and evaluates the European Union’s (“EU”) efforts to integrate its various copyright laws, using the EU’s 1996 Database Directive as a case study. Legal scholarship on this subject to date has focused on and criticized only isolated legislative initiatives and directives at the EU level but has not attempted to explore European copyright law policy in a comprehensive manner. Therefore, this Article aims to evaluate overall EU copyright law policy through the lens of the Database Directive.
Part II provides an overview of EU copyright policy and harmonization efforts, specifically touching upon the different copyright traditions among its Member States and the development of the Information Society within both the EU and the wider international arena.

Part III tells the story of how the Database Directive was formulated, starting with how compilations were protected prior to the Directive, how database protection emerged as a policy matter, and how the Directive evolved through the formal policy process. Among other things, the analysis illustrates the Directive’s origins within European copyright policy, highlights the Directive’s dual copyright/sui generis approach, provides a detailed overview of the main revisions to the text of the Directive, and indicates the key policy players involved in the formulation process. Most importantly, the analysis critically examines EU copyright policy.
Finally, Part IV turns to EU copyright policy as illustrated by the Database Directive, showing the policy’s inherent inefficiency as well as the flawed assumptions underlying it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1411-1470
Number of pages60
JournalBerkeley Technology Law Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008


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