Databases have been of concern in the international arena for many years. Major international treaties relating to copyright protection have included provisions for protecting databases, such as the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works ("Berne Convention"), the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT). But the protections under these treaties seem very narrow and far from perfect; none of them has provided enough protection to unoriginal databases.(In the terminology of copyright, a database is often referred to as a"collection" or "compilation." n12)<*350> Specifically, the Berne Convention (Paris Text 1971) requires allmember countries to protect "collections of literary or artistic works ...which, by reason of the selection and arrangement of their contents, constitute intellectual creations." n13 TRIPS requires all "developed" WTO member countries to protect "compilations of data or other material, whether in machine readable or other form, which by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents constitute intellectual creations ... ." n14 It further explicitly states such protection "shall not extend to the data or material itself." n15 A similar obligation can also be found in the WCT, which was concluded in Geneva in December 1996. The treaty also requires member countries to provide protection for "compilations of data or other material, in any form, which by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents constitute intellectual creations.
"n16 Like TRIPS, it also explicitly provides that such protection "does notextend to the data or the material itself ... in the compilation." n17In the above provisions, each treaty contains virtually identical languagelaying down originality and creativity requirements for a database to beeligible to obtain copyright protection - the database (collection/ complication) must constitute an "intellectual creation." In other words, the protection is limited to the database with <*351> originality, and all unoriginal databases will not be protected under these treaties. Moreover, such protection only applies to protecting the format of database (structure and integrity of database), and does "not extend to the data or the material itself"(the content of database). Consequently, many factual databases might not be able to get effective protection. This is obviously not effective in protectingthe incentives of database producers for continuous investment in the factualdatabases. (More details about the consequence will be discussed later).