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當我們談論到資料(庫)時,首先我們必須清楚分別資料庫的架構和他所包含的內容(當我們使用 ‘data’ (資料) 這一個名詞時,我們指的是資料庫內的內容)。架構的組成包含資料庫的欄位名稱和資料的模型 – 這些欄位的組織架構和他們彼此之間的關連。

In many jurisdictions it is likely that the structural elements of a database will be covered by copyright (it depends somewhat on the level of ‘creativity’ involved in creating this structure).

但是,這裡我們首先關心的是資料本身。當我們提到 “data” (資料)時,我們必須要更加小心因為這個詞的定義並不是很清楚:”data” 可能意味著一些或是就是單獨的一項東西(例如,一個獨一的圖書記錄,一組座標,等)或著 “data” 也可能意味著一整個完整的收藏(如同,資料庫內的所有資料)。為了避免混淆我們必須將「內容」使用在對單一物件的時候,而 data 則是用來指定完整的收藏。


This distinction between the “content” of a database and the collection is especially crucial for factual databases since no jurisdiction grants a monopoly right over the individual facts (the “content”), even though it may grant right(s) in them as a collection. To illustrate, consider the simple example of a database which lists the melting point of various substances. While the database as a whole might be protected by law so that one is not allow to access, re-use or redistribute it without permission, this would never prevent you from stating the fact that substance Y melts at temperature Z.

Forms of protection fall broadly into two cases:

    • A sui generis right for collections of data

As we have already emphasized, there are no general rules and the situation varies by jurisdiction. Thus we proceed country by country detailing which (if any) of these approaches is used in a particular jurisdiction.

Finally, we should point out that in the absence of any legal protection, many providers of (closed) databases are able to use a simple contract combined with legal provisions prohibiting violation of access-control mechanisms to achieve results similar to a formal IP right. For example, if X is a provider of a citation database, it can achieve any set of terms of conditions it wants simply by:

(a) 需要使用者以密碼登入 (b) Only providing a user with an account and password on the condition that the user agrees to the terms and conditions

You can read more about the jurisdiction by jurisdiction situation in the Guide to Open Data Licensing.