28.1 The Terms of Reference direct the ALRC to consider what changes might be required to encourage the creation and use of intellectual property to further the health and economic benefits of genetic research and genetic and related technologies. This chapter examines the potential application of copyright law to the written representation of gene and protein sequences, and to databases holding gene sequence and other information.

28.2 Many of the genetic databases that are available online to Australian researchers have been compiled in overseas jurisdictions. These databases are likely to be subject to the laws applying in those jurisdictions, rather than Australian law.[1]

28.3 This chapter discusses the various means by which the owners of genetic databases compiled in Australia might seek to protect their investment in them. In practice, database owners might seek to use a combination of copyright law, technological protection measures, and contractual arrangements. The chapter considers the competing interests of database owners and researchers, and recommends several reforms to effect an appropriate balance between them.

[1] See generally, Copyright Law Review Committee, Copyright and Contract (2002), Ch 5.