This website describes the activities of the joint CODATA/ICSU ad hoc group on scientific access to data and information. ICSU and CODATA became actively concerned about data access issues in 1996, at the time when the World Intellectual Property Organization began to consider legislation to protect databases. The situation in regard to new database protection has evolved since 1996. The World Intellectual Property Organization continues to envisage an eventual database treaty but does not have an active proposal at the moment. The European Union's (EU) Database Directive came into force on 1 January, 1998. In the United States, database legislation continues to be discussed in Congress.