Discussion Questions

  1. Suppose that you invent a method for predicting the weather up to three days in advance, with 100% accuracy. This is extremely valuable information for those in the construction, agriculture, and tourism industries. You want to offer past, present, and future weather information in the form of an online database for subscribers to use.

    1. Are your “future weather data” predictions? If they are 100% accurate, doesn’t that make them “facts” and thus lessen their protection?
    2. Does ascertaining tomorrow’s weather constitute “obtaining” or “creating” data under EU Directive 96/9/EC?
    3. How could you structure a service that would reduce the amount of unauthorized trafficking in your future weather data?
  2. Harris Teeter and other stores with loyalty programs, like VIC cards, maintain a database of purchases associated with particular shoppers.

    1. Who does this data “belong” to? The store or the customer?
    2. Does this look more like “creating” or “obtaining” data? Couldn’t you argue that any time you record something that happened, you’re just “creating” data?
  3. Consider a database regime in which a database can also consist of printed matter. Lists of facts have been held to be databases in some Western European countries. Could an accurate history book be called a database, if it consists mostly of chronological facts and uncreative narrative?
  4. Does the United States need distinct protection for databases, or is the existing regime enough? What should that protection look like?