value proposition," and then once we did that, we spent a long time wondering about whether the Dear Rich Staff is offering its customers a suitable VP. Then we got sidetracked creating animated GIFs and entirely lost our train of thought. Ennyway, we think you really have two questions and we'll address them separately.
(1) Is there a way to protect a database that consists of publicly available research and original material? Copyright offers fairly limited protection for compilations of data, particularly if portions of the data are publicly available. The owner has to demonstrate that the selection, coordination, or arrangement of the materials is original. To prove infringement of factual compilations, for example, you generally must show verbatim copying. The more popular method of protecting databases is with end user licenses restricting how the material can be used. Other database users attempt to protect their sites with encryption or passwords. However, these precautions may have little effect. For example, one court permitted a company to use a "spider" to scrape public domain data from a competitor's website. Alas, the copyright circular on protecting automated databases (Circular 65) is currently being revised
(2) What's the best way to disclose information about that database to third parties such as investors? If your database is not publicly accessible, the best way to disclose information about it is under the terms of a nondisclosure agreement. We've posted examples you can use at our NDA site.