In European Union law, a database right is a legal right, introduced in 1996. Database rights are specifically coded (i.e. sui generis) laws on the copying and dissemination of information in computer databases.
De facto, databases when defended have been covered by copyright law. On 11 March 1996 the Council of the European Union passed Directive No. 96/9/EC of 11 March 1996 on the legal protection of databases, giving a specific and separate legal rights (and limitations) to certain computer records. The law calls these database rights.
Rights afforded to manual records under EU database right law are similar in format, but not identical, to those afforded artistic works.
Database right lasts for 15 years, and can be extended if the database is updated.
An owner has right to object to the copying of substantial parts of their database, even if data is extracted and reconstructed piecemeal. Database rights under the EU are created automatically, vested in the employers of creators (when the action of creation was part of employment), and do not have to be registered to have effect.
There is no protection over the form of expression of information, only over the information itself.
On 1 January 1998, the United Kingdom's law "The Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations of 1997" came into force.
 United States
Uncreative collections of facts are outside of Congressional authority under Article I, – 8, cl. 8, i.e. the Copyright Clause, of the United States Constitution, therefore no database right exists in the United States. The sine qua non of copyright, in the United States, is originality. (see Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service)
No specific law exists in Australia protecting databases. Databases may only be protected if they fall under general copyright law. Australian copyright law protects "compilations", which can include databases, phone books, etc. This copyright protection only covers the unique arrangement of data within the compilation, however, not the data itself.
In article 1260 of the Civil Code of Russia, a database is a collection of independent materials presented in an objective form (articles, accounts, legal texts, judicial decisions, and other similar materials), which are systematically arranged in a way that these materials can be found and processed by a computer. A database need not be registered to enjoy legal protection, but the Civil Code of Russia provides for the registration of rights, which is useful if the claims are disputed in court.
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