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Do databases need protection? From whom?

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Under legislation the US House of Representatives is considering and under a recent directive of the European Union, the legal status of databases is poised to undergo a sea change. For example, if the periodic table were developed today, under the proposed rules it would have legal protection for at least 15 years. During this time, the table would be safe from being copied by others and from having substantial amounts of the data used for commercial purposes without a contract; or, in France, even for scientific purposes. The Congressional actions, House bills 354 and 1858, are in response to calls from database publishers and compilers. The proposed laws have additional impetus now because of the EU Database Directive, which gives reciprocal protection to foreign databases only if the country of origin offers protection similar to that afforded by countries in the European Economic Area (the 15 EU states plus Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland). The fear is that, unless the US acts, domestic databases will be considered fair game by Europeans

Published in:

Computing in Science & Engineering  (Volume:2 ,  Issue: 5 )