Databases as Intellectual Property: New Legal and Regulatory Approaches

J. Lipton (USA)


database, copyright, intellectual property, electronic commerce


In recent years it has become apparent that current intellectual property and other laws may not adequately protect some of the commercial needs of electronic database producers. Those who invest time, effort and/or financial resources into creating commercially valuable databases often run the risk of unauthorized parties gaining access to, and/or disseminating aspects of databases they have developed without financial recompense, and without necessarily infringing any intellectual property or other laws. There is pressure on legislatures the world over to enact new sui generis intellectual property laws to create rights in the contents of valuable databases. This has already occurred throughout the European Union under the EU Database Directive. Debate continues in the United States over the need for such legislation, and what form such legislation might take. This article suggests some possibilities for a new approach to sui generis database protection legislation in the United States, with a view to the possibility of eventual international legal/administrative harmonization.

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