legal database protection

Browsing cinema screening times on a website, consulting bus or train schedules, searching for telephone numbers in a directory etc. are all database applications that we use on a daily basis.

Databases are vital tools in an information society, particularly on the Internet, which boasts many database examples: 

  • employment websites;
  • real estate websites;
  • websites with financial information;
  • etc.

The collection and organisation of data to establish a convenient tool that can be used to search for detailed information, requires a significant investment by the database producers. In many cases, these databases also have a very considerable economic value. That is why databases are protected by law.

Belgian law provides two types of legal protection for databases.

In order to prevent competitors from appropriating databases or parts of them, the legislator created the sui generis right (database right) in favour of database producers.

If the database has an original structure, it may also be protected by copyright.

Last update
23 September 2022