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US Lawmakers Approve Database Protection Law

by Glen Shapiro, LawAndTax-News.com, New York

22 October 2003


It has emerged this week that US lawmakers have taken a step towards the effective protection of information databases following the US House Judiciary Committee's decision on Thursday to approve the Database and Collections of Information Misappropriation Act.

Although the European Union has had such legal protections in place for several years now, debate on the need for a similar law in the United States has been long-running.

Speaking following the approval of the proposed Act (which allows a substantial section of any collection of information to be used privately, intervening only when its use leads to material market harm for the database owner), Congressman Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) announced that:

"After eight long years, we have finally reached a compromise on this very important piece of legislation which represents a balance where the interests of users and producers of databases are protected."

He went on to observe that:

"Under current law, anyone can copy a database and send it to millions of people, destroying the market for the database. In this environment, e-businesses will be hesitant to make their databases available on the internet for fear that they will be misappropriated by those seeking to take advantage of the lack of legal protection in this arena."

"Under the protection provided in [the new legislation] database producers will make their compilations readily available in a wide variety of formats by providing database compilers with legal recourse against those who steal their databases."


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