The Directive prohibits an author of a database preventing a ‘lawful user’ accessing a database which has been made publicly available and extracting and/or re-utilising insubstantial parts of its contents.
The ECJ ruled that the Directive does not apply “to a database which is not protected either by copyright or by the sui generis right under that directive”, meaning that the author of a database is not precluded from laying down contractual limitations on its use by third parties. Whether a database is protected by the Directive, the ECJ left as a question of national law.
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