|Unsurprisingly, the CJEU ruled that |
a database owner
is subject to fewer constraints
than a passenger on a Ryanair flight
In 2010 the Local Court, Utrecht, partly dismissed Ryanair’s claims, notably those relating to the Database Directive and its Dutch transposition. In 2012 Court of Appeal, Amsterdam, completely ruled against Ryanair, holding that PR Aviation's conduct was a legitimate use of the Ryanair website. Ryanair appealed the decision before the Netherlands Supreme Court, which decided to stay the proceedings and refer the question mentioned above to the CJEU.
The same would not be true for a database protected by copyright or the sui generis right, because of a number of provisions, ie Articles 6(1), 8 and 15, in the Database Directive that - at certain conditions - prohibit contractual limitations in the use of a database.
In particular the CJEU held that: "it is clear from the purpose and structure of Directive 96/9 that Articles 6(1), 8 and 15 thereof, which establish mandatory rights for lawful users of databases, are not applicable to a database which is not protected either by copyright or by the sui generis right under that directive, so that it does not prevent the adoption of contractual clauses concerning the conditions of use of such a database." [para 39]
On a final note, it is perhaps worth observing how we are used to live in a world in which most people would be thrilled to be able to claim copyright or, at least, sui generis protection over their databases. Yet the decision in Ryanair shows that in some instances it is not that bad that this may not be the case, as at least one remains free to tailor the relevant contractual terms as they please.