DATA PROTECTION

The term ‘data’ has a very wide ambit. It has a personal as well as a commercial element in it. In this fast progressing world, original data is being generated every second. It is necessary to protect such data from being misused. IPR has a crucial role to play in protection of data.

Copyright protection does not require stringent registration process or ‘quality’ checks. All data, whichis the original work of the creator,is protected by copyright as soon as they are expressed. On the other hand, data protection is a different area of intellectual property altogether which has not yet been dealt with by the Indian Copyright Law. Law regarding the same has been discussed in international conventions like the TRIPs Agreement. It is important that necessary amendments are made to national law as well.

Article 10(2) of the TRIPs Agreement provides protection to ‘data’. This Article provides that ‘compilation of data’ or ‘other material’, whether in machine-readable form or any other form which has an element of intellectual creation by reason of the selection or arrangement, it has to be protected.

It is important to note here that it is the ‘compilation’ or ‘arrangement’ of data that is being protected here. Compilation of data is also protected under the Berne Convention. The same data cannot be compiled in a similar manner by anybody else.Only one individual can use one type of arrangement of data. Any other individual cannot use the same arrangement.The data can be compiled in any form – machine-readable form or any other form. For example,ifdata is stored in computers i.e. the machine-readable for. Accordingly, the government plans to amend the IT Act.If such data is misused, the IT Act along with the Copyright Act comes into play since copyright subsists in any content as soon as it is expressed.

Data protection as such, is only given to a form of selection or arrangement of the contents by using intellectual creations. Thus, databases should have data protection irrespective of the fact that they are also copyright protected under the Indian Copyright Act.If there is no element of creativity in the arrangement, there is no data protection. Databases have an element of creativity by virtue of being arranged in a particular manner. However, it is independent of copyright protection. Copyright protection starts to exist as soon as the content is expressed in an original manner. Therefore, all databases are copyrightable but all copyrightable content are not

databases. Henceforth,the protection in data is available only for the intellectual creation irrespective of the subsistence of copyright on the same content. Data protection is available only in the form and manner of arrangement of data and copyright is available in the data or material itself.