Policy ForumIntellectual Property

Europe's Database Experiment

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Science  26 Oct 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5543, pp. 789-790
DOI: 10.1126/science.1062695

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Database protection laws in Europe may have produced a modest, one-time growth spurt for commercial providers. Unfortunately, Europe's new database laws have also produced significant problems including overprotection of low-value data (e.g., telephone books), new barriers to database integration, and further erosion of the public domain. The authors of this Policy Forum caution that these problems could cripple commercial and academic science.