Journal Article

Protection of databases in India and <i>sui generis</i> protection

Apar Gupta

in Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice

Volume 2, issue 8, pages 553-556
Published in print August 2007 | ISSN: 1747-1532
Published online July 2007 | e-ISSN: 1747-1540 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jiplp/jpm100
Protection of databases in India and sui generis protection

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Legal context

Historically, databases are protected under copyright law. India (which has been a major beneficiary of electronic commerce) provides copyright protection to databases. The adequacy of this protection is analysed in this paper, which considers the developments in digital technology that make most of the database manufacturers susceptible to free-rider competition. The paper aims to demonstrate that adoption of the Feist doctrine by the Indian courts leads to inequitable results. The solution advocated is the adoption of a sui generis legislation which clearly prescribes the property rights and limitations, to database creators in India.

Key points

The present legal environment in India grants protection to databases under the Copyright Act 1957. The judiciary has interpreted this protection utilizing the ‘sweat of the brow’ theory as applied in Feist Publications, Inc. v Rural Telephone Service Co. The article argues that this is a thin layer of protection and acts as a significant deterrent to a database author's economic interests. The solution which the article suggests is a statutory sui generis database right.

Practical significance

With the increased digitization of data, India is increasingly seen as the back office of the world. This outsourcing of work to India has brought in an economic boom particularly in Information Technology Enabled Services. The creation and exploitation of databases is a natural component of such services. Without the granting of an adequate standard of protection to the authors of the databases, the economic boom will not be sustainable.

Keywords: India has become increasingly sensitive to the need to protect copyright, as that country's industries have demonstrated great creativity and resourcefulness in the generation and commercial exploitation of original works.; Although the concept of database protection is not one that is indigenous to Indian IP jurisprudence, that country has addressed itself to issues arising from sui generis database protection in recent years.; In this article the current statutory regime for database protection in India is considered and examined in the light of European legislation as well as leading case law from other common law jurisdictions.

Journal Article.  2788 words. 

Subjects: Arbitration ; Intellectual Property Law

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