The part 4 of the Civil Code of Russian Federation (thereafter Civil Code) provides for two legal models for protection of databases. According to art. 1260 of the Civil Code database is protected by copyright based upon the condition of an individual selection or arrangement of the elements of a database. Copyright covers the structure of the database. In addition to copyright the Civil Code has introduced a new right within the regime of neighboring rights - the right of makers of databases (part 4 chapter 71 par. 5 of the Civil Code) – to protect substantial investments in the database.
1. The grounds and scope of copyright in databases.
According to art. 1260 of the Civil Code 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 (PC).
The main difference between a database and other compilations protected by copyright is that the materials that make up the database can be processed and made available by a computer. The collection of materials in other forms (paper) does not constitute a database.
Copyright in database covers organization and arrangement of materials, systematization and presentation of information, but not information as such. The copyright protection of databases does not extend to their contents. Thus, retrieval, copying or other use of materials that constitute the content of a database does not fall within the scope of copyright protection of databases.
In respect of the expression of the database which is protectable by copyright, the author of a database shall have the exclusive right to carry out or to authorize:
(a) temporary or permanent reproduction by any means and in any form, in whole or in part;
(b) translation, adaptation, arrangement and any other alteration;
(c) any form of distribution to the public of the database or of copies thereof;
(d) any communication, display or performance to the public;
2. The Right of Makers of Databases
The purpose of introducing this mode of protection was the need to protect the interests of organizations that invest considerable amount of money in obtaining and systematization of information.
The maker (natural person or legal entity) of a database is the person who has organized creation of the database and work on collection, processing and arrangement of materials that constitute the database (art. 1333 of the Civil Code).
The main condition for protection of the maker of a database is substantial costs for the creation of the database (financial, physical, organizational and other costs). Art. 1334 of the Civil Code states that, absent evidence to the contrary, a database that contains not less than 10 000 independent data elements (materials), that constitute the content of the database, is considered to require substantial investment.
The exclusive right of the maker of a database, eligible for protection by neighboring rights, includes the right to extract from the database materials and re-utilize them in any form or by any means. The extraction of materials means the transfer of the entire database or its substantial part to another information carrier by use of any means and in any form (art. 1334 of the Civil Code).
The exclusive right of a database maker runs from the date of completion of the making of the database. It shall expire fifteen years from the first of January of the year following the date of completion. In the case of a database which is made available to the public in whatever manner before expiry of the period of 15 years from the year of completion of the making of the database, the term of protection by that right shall expire fifteen years from the first of January of the year following the date when the database was first made available to the public (art. 1335 of the Civil Code).
Beneficiaries of protection. The right of the maker of a database extends for the whole territory of Russian Federation if the maker of a database is a citizen of Russian Federation or Russian legal entity. If the maker of a database is a foreign citizen or foreign legal entity the database is eligible for protection under part 4 chapter 71 par. 5 of the Civil Code if Russian makers of databases enjoy the same protection in the country of the foreign maker of the database.
3. Registration of Databases.
For the copyright and related rights protection the Civil Code does not require fulfillment of any formalities. Copyright and related rights of the maker of a database arise from the fact of creation of the database that satisfies the requirements for protection (the level of creativity for copyright or substantial investments for related rights protection).
The Civil Code provide for the option to register the rights on a database. The purpose of registration is fixation of the database as an object of copyright protection, fixation of the information about the author(es) and/or another right holder. The registration does not trigger any substantial benefits for the author(es) and/or right holder except for the legal presumption that all information in the register is authentic. Therefore, in the case of a dispute in a court the burden of proof that information in the register is not true will lie on the contesting party.