We are launching a series of articles on the data economy. We use this term to refer collectively to new models of the economy in which the principal role is played by data. Data are becoming an asset in their own right which is more and more often the subject of commercial exchange. This doesn’t mean only personal data. It also, or even primarily, means non-personal data of all sorts, including those generated or gathered by machines, whose value we are only beginning to discover.
We were spurred to develop a series of texts on this topic by the more and more frequently encountered question “Who owns data?” We hear this from clients, tech firms, and startups. Under the surface of this seemingly trivial question lurks the essence of the legal challenges connected with the data economy. It turns out that the legal status of data is not always obvious and it cannot easily be determined who owns data or what is the substance of rights to data.
We would like to expose some sensitive areas where the law does not yield the desired answers to fundamental questions about the rules of the data economy. Along the way, we will attempt to systematise the existing regulations, to determine to what extent they could apply to data.
Obviously, some of the articles will be addressed to personal data. We will examine how the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation fits into the mechanisms of the data economy. We will also identify elements of the personal data regulatory regime posing an undoubted barrier to the growth of data-based economic models.
There will be articles devoted to algorithms. They are among the basic tools for extracting added economic value from data. Something we might dare to call the “law of algorithms” is arising before our very eyes. We would like to capture this important moment in the development of the law and describe selected legal issues connected with algorithms. Perhaps a new publication on this topic will grow from this seed.
Our series will also include texts on the broader socio-economic context of the data economy. Data and other technological solutions have the potential to alter the economic paradigms we have become accustomed to. It is worth exploring this potential, as it could also fundamentally reshape the law.
We hope you enjoy the new series!
Krzysztof Wojdyło, Lena Marcinoska, Dr Monika A. Górska