The fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources is one objective of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol, which was implemented into EU law by the Nagoya Regulation in 2014. Currently, the parties to the Nagoya Protocol debate whether digital sequence information (DSI) should also be subject to benefit-sharing. In fact, in the EU, the provisions of the Open Data Directive (ODD) of 2019 and the recently adopted Data Governance Act (DGA) already cover research data, including DSI. The ODD promotes the re-use of publicly funded research data to foster innovation but cannot resolve the systemic conflicts between benefit-sharing and open data. Furthermore, the DGA does not apply to DSI in desired cases and opens the door for the privatization of DSI. As a result, the current legal framework imposes chilling effects on research and effectively excludes DSI from further research and follow-on innovation. While future revisions of the ODD and the DGA should address some of these problems, a multilateral benefit-sharing mechanism for DSI is urgently needed. Crucial parameters of such a mechanism can be drawn from the enquiry into the EU open data legal framework.
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