Wednesday, May 2, 2012


date: Tue, 21 Jul 2009 16:10:42 +0100
from: "Palmer Dave Mr \(LIB\)" <>
subject: RE: McIntyre EIR request (FOI_09-44; EIR_09-03) - Draft response
to: "Jones Philip Prof \(ENV\)" <>, "Mcgarvie Michael Mr \(ACAD\)" <>


The claim of database rights is really only relevant if we are releasing information and
wish to restrict the subsequent use of that information. Copyright does not 'trump' our
obligations under FOIA and we cannot use any copyright in material to prevent it's
disclosure. What we CAN do however, is attempt to limit the uses made of released material
(assuming of course that we have rights in the material released).

The remedy for breach of copyright are the remedies provided for by law but actually
getting damages, for example, can be a tricky thing - it's one thing to claim copyright,
and another to enforce it - helps if you have lots of lawyers and money!

Cheers, Dave

From: Phil Jones []
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 2:03 PM
To: Palmer Dave Mr (LIB); Mcgarvie Michael Mr (ACAD)
Subject: Re: McIntyre EIR request (FOI_09-44; EIR_09-03) - Draft response

The letter is fine.
Your idea about 'copyright' of the database is an excellent one. Over the last 30
we have reworked the database on a number of occasions - every 3-5 years, so
re-extending for another 15 years is fine. I'll have retired by then anyway!

Do we need to come up with a form of words elaborating on database rights? Or
can we just declare this? I'm presuming we don't have to register this with anybody
as would be the case with a patent?
Can we go with the letter then invoke this copyright, or should the letter be modified
to encompass your 'copyright' and 'database right' ?
I wouldn't want to have to put this 'copyright' to the test in a Canadian court. If we
send them the file and they break the copyright, can we then refuse thereafter?
Apologies that nothing is ever simple.
At 13:22 21/07/2009, Palmer Dave Mr \(LIB\) wrote:

A draft response along the lines discussed yesterday. I would expect an almost
immediate appeal of this decision by Mr. McIntyre.
Phil, as your concern is the publication of the requested information, I wonder if a
possible alternative is to release it but place conditions on it's use. This will ONLY
work if UEA has some rights in the data itself or in the database. 'Copyright' in the
contents of a database would require some personal creative input by ourselves to the
data or database that would render it different from preceding external versions and
However, even if the contents aren't 'original', there is a 'database right' where the
contents of the database are assembled as the result of substantial investment in
obtaining, verifying, or presenting it's contents. It is the framework, not the
contents, that attracts the rights. These rights exist for 15 years from the completion
of the database BUT any substantial change to contents will 'renew' the database rights
for another 15 years. The owner of database rights has the right to prevent the
extraction or reuse of all or a substantial portion of the database.
There is 'fair dealing' in database rights to the extent that anyone has a right to
extract & reuse an insubstantial portion of the database (not really defined in law but
it's very small) for any purpose, or where the portion is substantial, extract and use
data for non-commercial research or private study. What can't be done is re-issuing this
information to the public under a different guise.
The upshot of all of this is that, if we have a 'database right' in this information,
then we can release it BUT insist on our exclusive right to re-use the information - BUT
the issue is actually 'enforcing' those rights...... more difficult in practice than in
law or theory....
Just thought I would proffer this as an option in place of the refusal and the
inevitable appeal.
Cheers, Dave
David Palmer
Information Policy & Compliance Manager
University of East Anglia
Norwich, England
Information Services
Tel: +44 (0)1603 593523
Fax: +44 (0)1603 591010

Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) 1603 592090
School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) 1603 507784
University of East Anglia
Norwich Email

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