Given my interest in metadata for cultural works when I cam across a copy of Who Wrote What?: A Dictionary of Writers and Their Works (ed. Michael Cox) [OUP 2001] in a secondhand bookshop I was immediately interested. After a quick browse of the data presented I took a look at the ‘restrictions’ information inside the front cover and found:

(c) 2001 Oxford University Press
Database right 2001 Oxford University Press (maker)

This is one of the first times I’ve ever found the database right being asserted in an offline work and it certainly surprised me. It also made me wonder exactly which parts of this work were covered by which right – does the copyright only cover the presentation of the information in the exact form laid out with the database right covering that particular aggregation of data or do the rights overlap so that it would be conceivable that both could be infringed at once?

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Rufus Pollock is Founder and President of Open Knowledge.