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A Universal Legal Framework as a Prerequisite for Database Interoperability

Dov Greenbaum & Mark Gerstein

Nature Biotechnology 21(9) 979-982 2003

The paper documents the history of the international debate on database protection legislation , highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of specific options. It describes why database protection is required, given the current state of affairs, and why it should be tailored to meet the needs of scientific community while simultaneously providing limited intellectual property rights as incentives for commercial production of databases. Specifically, the paper advocates compulsory standardized licensing to alleviate the burden caused by restrictive and unilaterally imposed licensing requirements. Additionally, the paper outlines how specific digital protections inhibit interoperability and advocates the limiting of these digital protections as a prerequisite for attaining intellectual property rights for a database. The paper also proposes that databases be required, as part of the process of attaining IP rights, to conform to an interoperability standard; similar to the motivation to attain interoperability standards in biology.

Database Protection