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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.

Published: 2023-11-21
Pages:181 to 192
Section: Articles
How to Cite
Monye, Ogochukwu. 2023. “Perspectives on Database Rights of Humans and Machines in Electronic Health Records: Focus on South Africa”. Law, Technology and Humans 5 (2):181-92.

Author Biography

University of Benin; University of Cape Town
South Africa South Africa

Dr Ogochukwu Monye is a Technology Law Specialist and Senior Law lecturer, at the University of Benin, Nigeria. She holds an LLB from the University of Nigeria, an LLM from the Queen Mary University of London, and a PhD from the University of Cape Town. Her research interests include Technology Law, Fintech, Digital Financial Inclusion, Regional Trade in Africa, Intellectual Property and Consumer Protection Law. She has authored peer-reviewed journal articles and technical reports and has had research engagements with several organisations. She is the Managing Editor of the University of Benin Journal of Business Law. She is also a Higher Research Affiliate at the Private Law Department of the Faculty of Law, University of Cape Town, a research consultant for the South Africa Intellectual Property chair and a research fellow at the La Trobe LawTech group, La Trobe Law School, Australia.


Open Access Journal
ISSN 2652-4074