Perspectives on Database Rights of Humans and Machines in Electronic Health Records: Focus on South Africa
Database right, as a subcategory of copyright law, rewards the creative exploits, labour and skill expended in compiling, arranging and organising a set of information for ease of use. When humans create, the labour and ingenuity exerted in reaching completion is compensated by the law by bestowing exclusive rights of exploitation on creators and their assigns. In the sphere of Electronic Health Record databases, data (which are mainly inputted by clinicians) are obtained from various sources, including clinician deduction, patients and caregivers’ observations and reports, and family-reported or community-reported traits. Using the doctrinal research method and writing primarily from a South African legal standpoint with insights drawn from other countries, the author considers the dynamics of navigating ownership rights in Electronic Health Record databases and the associated challenges when AI is involved. In summary, this paper examines the Electronic Health Record ownership rights of humans and machines, particularly in the South African context.